India skipper Mithali Raj feels women's cricket needs an IPL like tournament
Following the success of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL), India women's team skipper Mithali Raj on Monday expressed her desire to see the female version of the massively popular Twenty20 extravaganza soon in the country.
The national women's team is scheduled to play Australia in three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) from January 26. Fast bowling all-rounder Jhulan Goswami will be the vice-captain of the side.
India will kick-start their campaign with a T20I match in Adelaide on January 26, followed by the second T20I on January 29 (Melbourne), and third on January 31 (Sydney).
Following the tour, India will start their World T20 campaign against Bangladesh on March 15 in Bengaluru.
"Women's IPL won't be a bad idea. I hope it happens soon in the country. It is very important to popularise the game in the country. I think if we do well in the World T20 at home IPL might come up," Mithali said at a press conference here before leaving for Australia.
"This is the ideal time to lift the women's cricket in the country and I think IPL is the best platform," she said.
The 33-year-old said the Australia domestic T20 tournament Big Bash League franchise Adelaide Strikers approached her and Jhulan to play for them but due to domestic commitments, they could not join the T20 side.
"The Adelaide franchise approached me and Jhulan for the Big Bash. We couldn't go as we had domestic matches happening in India. It will be good to play in those conditions and mix with those players in Australia," the captain said.
Former India skipper and current women's coach Purnima Rau said she has given the side full freedom to play boldly and play their natural game to make cricket more entertaining.
"The fact is the game has to be made entertaining. I have told the girls to play their natural game and play boldly. We have to win the World T20 at home. It is all about playing and enjoying the game as much as one can," Purnima said.
"The women's cricket in the country is in right shape and I think it needs to be backed and popularised more," she said.