How important Deepti Sharma is in the scheme of things going forward for Indian women’s cricket was underlined a few days ago when she was announced as Velocity’s captain for the Women’s T20 Challenge, starting at Pune on Monday.

While the other skippers, Harmanpreet Kaur (Supernovas) and Smriti Mandhana (Trailblazers) have led the teams in the previous editions, it is for the first time that Deepti has been made the captain. She has replaced Mithali Raj, who captained Velocity until the last edition.

“It feels nice that I have got this opportunity,” the 24-year-old all-rounder said on Saturday. “When you captain, your responsibility increases; you want to do well and take your team forward. I have enjoyed captaincy. I have captained at the domestic level.”

She said the annual tournament was a good initiative by the BCCI. “It would be even better next year when there could be six teams,” she said. “We have a lot of talents in India; it would be better for them if they get more matches.”

She said the Women’s T20 Challenge was a great opportunity for them. “We have foreign players for this tournament and the (uncapped) domestic players,” she said. “The youngsters get to share the experience with the seniors.”

Deepti is excited that several promising cricketers have been picked for the six-day event. “I was watching Kiran Navgire at the nets for the first time and found that she is such a power-hitter,” she said. “I also found leg-spinner Maya Sonawane very good.”

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