The Indian women's team might not have won the T20 World Cup, but women’s cricket, in general, won on March 8, 2020 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). According to the official broadcaster, 86,174 people attended the final between the hosts Australia and first-time finalists India at the MCG on International Women’s Day.
This was the highest ever attendance for a women’s cricket match globally and the highest for a women’s event in Australia. India’s plans might not have worked in the final but the ICC’s plan to fill the MCG almost worked out. It was a great effort put in by all the people associated to make it a big event and get as many people as possible on board.
This was the first time the Women’s T20 World Cup was arranged separately from the men’s event and it was highly successful in attracting crowds. It was not only about the crowds but the quality of cricket as well that was top-notch. After such a successful World T20, the question which comes up is whether a Women’s IPL is possible? Has this World T20 opened the door for the female version of the biggest T20 league in the world?
Before we answer this question there are quite a few things that need to be looked into. Currently, the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) and the Kia Super League (KSL) are the only two leagues for the women cricketers. Out of these two, the WBBL is the more popular one. Why is it successful?
The basic resource which is required to start a T20 league is domestic talent. Australian has enough quality domestic talent to perform at that level. Are there enough Indian domestic women players to make up 8 teams? At the moment, the answer is no. If you look at the women’s domestic competitions then you would find out that it is difficult to find enough players to make up three good teams and so 8 would be out of the question.
A six-team women’s IPL could be a viable option that too with increasing the number of overseas players. Six Indians and five overseas players would be a good ratio to start with. Looking at the current scenario, there doesn’t seem to be enough players even for a six-team IPL. Some might have a counterpoint to this, citing that you won’t get readymade players from the start and it will take time for talent to emerge. The two 16-year olds Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh have been a product of the Women’s T20 Challenge which takes place during the IPL playoffs and there is a fair counter-argument.
Also see – Indian Premier League 2020 schedule
On the other hand, to start something new you should have at least some players to work with and at the moment the number of players isn’t enough. India is such a big country that a talent hunt will unearth enough capable players but the next thing would be to make them good enough for a tournament like IPL.
The recently concluded T20 World Cup showed that if the quality of cricket is top-notch then the gender won’t matter. People will come if you give them good cricket. Entertaining cricket from the best players is the only requirement for the spectators. With increasing interest in the women’s game, one thing is for sure that there will be a women’s IPL soon. This T20 World Cup might have opened the door for a potential women’s IPL but to make it into a reality, a lot of hard work and planning has to be done behind the scenes.
It is coming though.
Published 09 Mar 2020, 15:23 IST