According to their director of cricket Mike Hesson, the Royal Challengers Bangalore women’s team plans to heavily invest in artificial intelligence (AI) to find potential in remote areas of the nation. The team management will continue to use the tried-and-true strategy of dispatching scouts to find bright talent, but RCB will also make use of AI technology to support their efforts. “We believe that more thorough scouting is required than simply sending routine scouts to competitions. The entire nation is full of unrealized ability and promise “In a press conference prior to the Women’s Premier League, Hesson stated (WPL).
“So, we have an artificial intelligence system, where we look at some key metrics. From a bowling perspective, it will be around pace. From a batting perspective, it will be around different positions that they get into. Once we identify talent there, we can bring them into camps or we can go and watch them at specific tournaments,” he added.
Hesson stated that the RCB seeks to identify talent at a very young age in order to effectively train and prepare them.
“We’re trying to look far beyond just the mainstream tournaments or first-class cricket or state cricket. We’re trying to look at underage talent, talent from the extremities of the country, people that potentially aren’t in teams already,” he said.
“The players we’re looking at might be a year away from actually being a part of the RCB. But we can identify them, we can watch them over a period of time and just see how they develop. That’s certainly how we also operate in both the men’s and women’s programme,” Hesson said.
With Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Heather Knight, and Dane van Niekerk on its roster, RCB may have assembled a great team, but head coach Ben Sawyer has made it plain that the best players will rotate throughout the WPL beginning on Saturday.
Along with these four well-known players, RCB has also signed WBBL (Big Bash League) standout Erin Burns and famous New Zealander Sophie Devine, and Sawyer acknowledged that he is spoiled for choice.
The current coach of the New Zealand women’s team, Sawyer, evaded a direct response when asked about his choices for the top-four international players.
“All six will play a role. We play four games in the first six days. We will have different match-ups against the teams and I am fortunate to have them,” Sawyer said.
“Don’t expect us to operate with the same four in the whole tournament. We have got some multi-skilled players. Pretty sure you will see all six in the tournament,” said Sawyer.
Sawyer has experience coaching in the WBBL and The Hundred, and she believes the WPL will elevate women’s cricket to a new level.
“That’s a scary thought for an international player of what they are going to come up against in future. I’ve seen the impact that WBBL and The Hundred have had. It’s (WPL) just going to take it (women’s cricket) to another level.” The Indian women’s team hasn’t taken home a major prize at the senior level and gets called “chokers” occasionally. Sawyer was sympathetic when asked if the WPL will assist them in overcoming the mental block in crucial games.
“Once they win one or two games, there is going to be no stopping the Indian team.” The 45-year-old has experience working in women’s franchise leagues in Australia (Sydney Sixers – WBBL) and England (Birmingham Phoenix – The Hundred), and he claims that big names only matter in the early years of league tournaments before every member of the squad realizes her role and becomes an essential cog.
“Maybe at the start, you are relying on the big names but in seven-eight years’ time, every single player in the team had an important role to play and was no longer seen as just making up the numbers,” he said, recalling the early days in WBBL.
“The experience some of the younger players will get at the international level will take them to another level. They will be exposed to playing international-style cricket week in and week out during the competition,” he added.
Sania Mirza, a tennis legend from India, is the ideal role model, and Mike Hesson, the team’s director of cricket, believes that having her serve as RCB’s coach for the forthcoming WPL will motivate the group.
The six-time Grand Slam champion, 36, just announced his retirement from tennis.
Sania is a great figure for women’s sport, according to Hesson, “no matter what sport you are from, but growing 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.
“No matter what sport you are from, but coming up as an elite and challenging the norms in terms of an athlete, wanting to embrace pressure and how to deal with it, and not be afraid of it, for women’s sport, Sania is a huge icon,” Hesson said.
“The more you talk about pressure and emotions of the game, and the challenges rather than talking technique for which we have got plenty of experts, I think it’s exciting,” he added.
Beginning on March 4, the WPL will feature Gujarat Giants playing Mumbai Indians.