Ahead of the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have announced Ben Sawyer as their women’s team’s Head Coach.
The 45-year-old Australian is currently in charge of the New Zealand senior women’s national cricket team as head coach and has also served as the assistant coach of the Australia senior women’s national cricket team.
Sawyer was the Sydney Sixers’ head coach in the Women’s Big Bash League, guiding them to two titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18. He also boasts the highest winning percentage among all the women’s T20 coaches.
While Mike Hesson will continue to assume the role of Director of Cricket at the RCB, Sawyer will be assisted by Malolan Rangarajan, who is the Head of Scouting as well as the Assistant Head Coach of the team.
The RCB have also appointed former Team India cricketer Vanitha VR (Scout and Fielding Coach) and RX Murali (Batting Coach) for their women’s team ahead of the 2023 WPL season.
The RCB team manager and doctor for the tournament will be Dr Harini Muralidharan, with Navnita Gautam (Head Athletic Therapist), Huzefa Talib (Strength and Conditioning Coach), Sabyasachi Sahoo (Head Physio) and Soumyadeep Pyne (Head of Operations) making up the rest of the support staff.
Speaking about the appointments, Prathmesh Mishra, Chairman of the RCB, said:
“We are excited to name Ben (Sawyer) as the Head Coach for RCB Women’s team. He has the ability to tap potentials in players and take their cricket to next level. We already have a great team, and I am confident that his leadership will help build a strong nucleus alongside the vast experience that he has of winning titles, 3 World Cups for Australia Women’s team and 2 for Sydney Sixers. Also, the experience of setting up the women’s franchise from scratch. He has the highest winning percentage among all the women’s T20 coaches. He’s been involved in women’s cricket for over 20 years. He knows the women talents really well. He has been thoroughly involved in our preparation to put together our women’s squad. We are assured that he can guide us to success while delivering the entertaining brand of cricket that made us a favourite team of fans in India and across the globe.”
Mike Hesson, Director of Cricket Operations at the RCB, further added:
“He (Ben Sawyer) has been part of Women’s cricket over 20 years now, knows the cricketers throughly, understands the game and has been involved in our preparations right from the beginning. I am really deligted to have him and he is as excited to join us. We also have Malo who has been part of our men’s system and scouting team and he will bring lot of value as Vanitha and RX Murali who have extensive experience of working in Karnataka with the women players and are highly sort after. We have a great team of talented support staff too along with the coaching team who we want to grow and develop too.”
On his new role as the RCB women’s team Head Coach, Ben Sawyer said:
“It is an exciting opportunity for me to join RCB women’s cricket team for an exhilarating campaign like the WPL. RCB has a massive fan following across the globe, built on their success and a bold brand of cricket. The work begins now, and we will try to build on that success for the women’s cricket team as well in WPL 2023. I would like to thank the management for entrusting me with the role of Head Coach and I will try to deliver my best to ensure a successful season.”
The Royal Challengers have also announced tennis legend Sania Mirza as a mentor of their women’s team for the inaugural WPL season, which is scheduled to be held in Mumbai from March 4 to 26, 2023.
The RCB have built a strong team on paper, having acquired 18 players at the recently concluded WPL auction, including some big names in women’s cricket – India’s Smriti Mandhana, Australia’s Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt, New Zealand captain Sophie Devine, England captain Heather Knight, and South African all-rounder Dané van Niekerk, along with India’s U19 star Richa Ghosh.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore kick off their first-ever WPL campaign against the Delhi Capitals at the Brabourne Stadium on March 5, 2023.