The Indian Premier League (IPL) and Women’s Premier League (WPL) have brought about a revolution in the cricket world. They have emerged as two of the top platforms for men’s and women’s cricketers from around the world to showcase their talents.
One of the major attractions for cricketers competing in these tournaments is the amount of money they can make if selected and if they perform well. IPL and WPL franchises engage in intense bidding wars to sign the top talents of the cricket world.
Another exciting part of the IPL is that the competition level in the tournament is unmatched, with the WPL also providing glimpses of the same this year. Franchises often hire the best coaches in the world to prepare their teams and get the best out of the available players in the squad.
The intense level of competition and the sheer quantity of rewards on offer mean that IPL and WPL franchises do not mind thinking outside the box for success.
For instance, 2008 Indian Premier League champions Rajasthan Royals used the ‘retired out’ option for the first time in the league last year. Ravichandran Ashwin walked back in to allow the team to send in a big-hitter for the slog overs.
Generally, cricket teams hire professional coaches or former cricketers as their coaching staff. However, a couple of IPL and WPL sides opted for non-cricket players as their mentors to help the team through the season. They brought something different to the table and helped the players perform better in cricket.
Here are two occasions when an Indian Premier League or a Women’s Premier League team decided to rope in a non-cricket personality as a mentor.
#1 Sania Mirza – Mentor of Royal Challengers Bangalore in WPL 2023
Former Indian women’s tennis player Sania Mirza joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore as a mentor ahead of their maiden Women’s Premier League season. Mirza achieved enormous success on the tennis court, winning multiple Grand Slams and setting new benchmarks for Indian women in the sports world.
Sania won multiple tennis matches in her career after being down at the start. It looks like the Royal Challengers Bangalore have roped her in to instill the same “never give up” mindset in the squad.
RCB have not had the best of starts in the Women’s Premier League 2023, losing all of their first five matches. They will need to win all of their remaining chances to have even a minute chance of finishing in the top three and Sania’s influence could be crucial.
#2 Mike Horn – Mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014
South African mountaineer and motivational speaker Mike Horn has worked with multiple cricket teams in the past. He was part of the Indian backroom staff for the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, where the Men in Blue emerged as champions.
Horn also worked with the German men’s football team when they won the FIFA World Cup in 2014. The same year, he joined the Kolkata Knight Riders as a mentor and played a massive role in the team’s second Indian Premier League title triumph.
KKR had a terrible start to their campaign in 2014 as they won only two of their first seven matches. It looked like the Kolkata-based franchise would finish in the lower half of the points table.
However, the Gautam Gambhir-led outfit made a remarkable comeback, winning their next seven league-stage matches. They then won Qualifier 1 before beating the Chennai Super Kings in the final to become the champions.