Growing up in Moga, a town in Punjab, Harmanpreet Kaur was told she could not have the poster of Virender Sehwag up on her wall. But when young cricketers these days tell her about having her posters in their rooms, it feels like a dream for the Indian T20I team captain.

Speaking to Harsha Bhogle on chat show Conversations with Cricbuzz, Harmanpreet said it is a great feeling to hear kids tell her they want to be like her.

“It still feels like a dream. When I started, I didn’t have much knowledge about women’s cricket,” Harmanpreet said.

“But I also had the same dreams as the boys around me, that of playing for India one day. Now when we are the grounds and young kids come over to say that they want to be like us, it is a great feeling.”

Harmanpreet had earlier spoken on Youtube show Breakfast with Champions about an anecdote from her childhood about buying a Sehwag poster from a fair with money she saved up that she was unable to put it up on wall because it was frowned upon.

“My parents didn’t allow me to put up a poster too but I did put up one of Sehwag. Now when kids have heard my story, they tell me theirs. I never thought I’d get the permission to put up a poster in my room. Now when kids tell me that they have my posters, it sounds like a dream,” Harmanpreet told Bhogle.

Harmanpreet also spoke about her stint at Women’s Big Bash League. She became the first Indian cricketer to sign up for the Australian Twenty20 tournament, when she had joined Sydney Thunder in 2016.

“It made a lot of difference. I can say that there’s a big difference in my mindset now and what it was before,” Harmanpreet said.

“I don’t know why previously we used to look for our comfort zone - scoring as per our comfort - but Big Bash was a completely new experience for me. I had to go and play with different players who I don’t know at all, and about whom I’ve not even heard about before. To stay with them for a month/month and a half, and play with them... because previously we’d played cricket amongst our people so you’d not think too much about you’re out of home, how you are etc. But to go there, to do everything by yourself from morning to night and to play cricket along with that, I’ve learnt a lot from that.”

Harmanpreet said the nature of the practice sessions at WBBL made it a challenge as well as a learning experience. Weighing in on the debate of having an Indian Premier League style tournament for women, Harmanpreet said it had to happen soon.

“I’ve been saying for the last three years that women’s IPL should happen. If our mindset can change because of Big Bash.. if in spite of playing so much cricket, we can still get awareness about certain aspects of the game, then just think how much the U-16 and U-19 girls, who are just starting to play now, can gain from the experience of an IPL, even if they’re only travelling with the team.

“The things that we’re learning at the age of 26, 27, they’ll get to learn at 16. It’s a huge 10-year gap. And then imagine what kind of a cricketer you’ll become by the time you’re 24-25. So I think it should be there. I believe we can have at least six teams. Despite making three teams in the Women’s challenger trophy, I felt there were a lot of girls who deserved to play and could perform well, so we could’ve made three more good teams. It’s not like we don’t have talent,” she added.

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