As she bids farewell to her illustrious career, Indian tennis legend Sania Mirza begins a new chapter in her life. She has been appointed as the mentor of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the inaugural season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL). This move by the Bangalore based team has been praised by a lot of current and ex-cricketers.
Many fans would be wondering: what value would a tennis player have in the field of cricket who has no prior experience in cricket? Yes, Sania might not be aware about the technical terms of cricket, but she is well experienced in handling pressure in crunch situations. This would be very crucial for all the players in the RCB rank heading into the fast-paced tournament.
RCB captain Smriti Mandhana has appreciated this move greatly. She claims to have looked up to Sania Mirza from her childhood days as an icon in women’s sport.
Mandhana revealed being inspired by Sania
In a pre-match conference, when asked about the importance of Sania’s role in RCB, Smriti Mandhana said:
“Somewhere I think she was the torchbearer (for women athletes), growing up I remember there being a trend of everyone wanting to be Sania Mirza. I remember my mom telling me why don’t take up tennis, I was 9 or 10 as there so much scope in women’s tennis.”
The RCB skipper seems to be sure of the fact that Sania’s experience will help the young girls massively. She spoke about Sania’s experience playing in grand slams and how she handled that sort of pressure. Balancing criticism and achievements at the same time is no easy task.
The Smriti Mandhana Sania Mirza Interview
On Bold Diaries, Sania and Smriti caught up to discuss cricket, tennis, pressure, privilege, RCB, women and other inspiring anecdotes.#PlayBold #ನಮ್ಮRCB #SheIsBold #WPL2023 pic.twitter.com/AFS9M6MFKa
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) March 5, 2023
“Sania Mirza fits perfectly as the mentor”, says team director Mike Hesson
In a media interaction RCB’s director of cricket Mike Hesson said:
“Sania is a great icon for women’s sport, no matter what sport you play. Rising up as an elite and breaking the conventions in terms of an athlete, wanting to embrace pressure and how to cope with it, and not being afraid of it, Sania has done it all”
Hesson further stated that team about why RCB haven’t had any mentor thus far. The team already had too many staff members to talk about the technical terms of the game. But appointing the former number one tennis player as the mentor is different.
It would add immense value to the team in terms of the mental aspect of the game. Hesson believes that Sania could guide the players with their upcoming challenges in the next couple of weeks.
Sania Mirza on joining RCB
The six-time world champion recently completed her glamorous tennis career that lasted for over two decades. She revealed how surprised she was when RCB approached her for the role. But later understood the main goal behind the decision.
“I believe that I enjoy participating in sports. They stated that I would be assisting young girls. Young ladies, who likely are experiencing this type of strain and limelight for the first time, are under a lot of financial pressure. Many of the girls have never really had to deal with that. They said, “We just want you to help them cope with that,” even though I have been dealing with that for the past 20 years of my life. For me as well, that was such a great concept.”
RCB squad in Women’s IPL:
Smriti Mandhana, Disha Kasat, Renuka Singh, Preeti Bose, Komal Zanzad, Megan Schutt, Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Erin Burns, Shreyanka Patil, Kanika Ahuja, Asha Shobana, Heather Knight, Dane van Niekerk, Poonam Khemnar
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