Need to Give Respect to Local Talent, Which Hasn’t Happened With RCB Whether It’s IPL or WPL: Venkatesh Prasad

Veteran India pacer Venkatesh  Prasad opened up on star batter Smriti Mandhana’s struggle in the ongoing edition of the Women’s Premier League. Mandhana was bought for a record INR 3.4 crore which made her the most expensive player in the inaugural WPL Auction. However, things didn’t work out as planned for the premier India opener as she has scored 88 runs in 6 WPL matches. Her poor performances with the bat also reflected big on the team’s performances in the tournament as they won just one match so far. Despite having a decent record as India’s captain in the limited matches, Mandhana failed to replicate the same in the first season of WPL.

RCB enjoyed a massive fanbase across the country courtesy of the men’s franchise which had several star players over the players including Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Faf du Plessis and KL Rahul. Despite not winnings an IPL trophy, RCB remained one of the most popular IPL franchises in the country.

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In a virtual media interaction, Venkatesh Prasad, Sports18 and Jio Cinema Expert replied to the News18 CricketNext query and said that apart from the big price tag, playing for a franchise like RCB who have not won an IPL trophy with men’s team, is added pressure on Mandhana.

“ She’s been the most expensive player in the auction. And secondly, she’s playing for a franchise that always had Virat Kohli in their ranks and AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle, and having not won an IPL tournament, that’s another pressure as well on Smriti. The franchise not winning a trophy team with men’s team adds pressure on Smriti,” Prasad told News18 Cricketnext in a selected interaction.

The legendary pacer said that the team has not been able to gel up together as they lost momentum after losing the first match itself.

“So obviously they were looking for a change in fortune, but that’s not happened so far. And on top of that, the team is not doing well, they’re not gelling, together, and they didn’t have a great start. In the very first game again they lost, they lost momentum and they were not able to sort of gel together and come back as a unit,” she added.

Talking about Mandhana’s captaincy, Prasad suggested that nothing is going in her favour at the moment as the other players of the team are also not helping her to win the matches.

“Smriti’s captaincy also is not looking good only because she’s not getting runs. You might not be getting runs, but you might be leading the team very well, and the others are running around and winning matches for you then your form doesn’t matter much, because it’s just a matter of time here her form is down she’s not amongst run then the team is not winning five consecutive losses till the last one the sixth one. So it all adds up. And obviously when you’re on a losing side and as a captain, when you’re not doing well and in your batting and as a captain, if you’re not getting the team together and the pressure mounts, so it’s not easy,” he added.

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Prasad pointed out that RCB failed in their scouting process for the domestic talents which he feels is the same case with the men’s franchise.

“I’m not very sure about the team manager. I don’t wanna talk about that because say it’s been the same team management even for the IPL as well. So the men’s team also has not done well. So I think one thing they have lost out, RCB is not identifying the local talent. Towards the end they just bought a couple of local players, but that is not how it goes. I think you need to give respect to the local talent, which has not happened whether it’s men or in the WPL,” he added.

Prasad also talked to News18 CricketNext about the underwhelming show of RCB pacer Renuka Singh Thakur as she has taken just one wicket in 6 matches.

“Honestly, I’m not very sure (about her dip in form). She’s a very good bowler and no doubt, but then she’s not amongst the wicket the best of the form. Her economy is on the higher side and she’s not bowling her full quota of overs. And as you rightly mentioned, she was used in the new ball and later on, she came in after the powerplay got over,” Prasad said.

He further questioned the team management and the captain on handling their bowlers.

“So obviously questions will be raised on the talent, but I don’t know how the captain or the management is thinking about all these things. The combination of when to get a particular bowler. So I think it’s a mix of everything. But look as far as the talent is concerned, it’s not just Renuka Singh. There’s tremendous talent from the Indian women cricketers. I think that’s fantastic, to see. Uh, I’m pretty happy. I’m extremely happy to see the talent and, uh, I’m sure they’re going to go from strength to strength,” he added.

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