Sania Mirza in action during her mixed doubles semi-final match at the Australian Open. Image Credit: Twitter / Sania Mirza

Bangalore: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have roped in Indian tennis star Sania Mirza as the team’s mentor for Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2023, the franchise announced on Wednesday. RCB said Mirza, winner of six Grand Slams, is a perfect fit into RCB Play Bold philosophy.

“Be it cricket or tennis, athletes are made of the same grain, fiercely competitive, love their sport and face pressure situations in their game. Sania Mirza has done just that for 20 years across her illustrious career of 6 Grand Slams and 43 WTA titles,” RCB said in a media release. Mirza’s stature as a leading role model for women prompted the team management to bring her on board to motivate and encourage the women’s team, RCB added.

“It is a pleasure for me to join the RCB women’s team as a mentor. Indian women’s cricket has seen a tectonic shift with the Women’s Premier League, and I am really looking forward to being a part of this revolutionary pitch. RCB and its brand philosophy perfectly resonate with my vision and outlook as that’s how I have approached my playing career, and it’s also how I see contributing to sports post my retirement,” said Mirza. “RCB has been a popular team and much followed team in the IPL over the years. I am immensely happy to see them building a team for the Women’s Premier League, as it will push women’s sports to new heights in the country, open new doors to women cricketers, and help make sports the first career choice for young girls and young parents with a girl child,” she added.

Rajesh V. Menon, head and vice-president of Royal Challengers Bangalore, said that Mirza, who has been honoured with Padma Bhushan, Arjuna Award and Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, is the perfect role model. “We are glad and honoured to welcome Sania Mirza as a mentor of the RCB women’s team. She is the perfect role model, with her success stemming out of her sheer hard work, passion, and determination, despite many challenges in her playing career,” Menon added.

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RCB have put together a team that includes the world’s talented players during the WPL auction on Monday in Mumbai. That includes India batter Smriti Mandhana, the Australian duo of all-rounder Ellyse Perry and medium-pacer Megan Schutt, New Zealand’s captain Sophie Devine, England’s skipper Heather Knight, South African all-rounder Dane van Niekerk and India under-19-star Richa Ghosh.

Mirza, who is married to Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik, plans to retire after the Dubai Tennis Championships which runs from February 19 to 25.