We believe the first Women's IPL could take place next year: Lisa Sthalekar 

Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj ahead of Women's T20 Challenge 2020. (PC: BCCI)
Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj ahead of Women's T20 Challenge 2020. (PC: BCCI)
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Rudransh Khurana

Lisa Sthalekar feels that the time has arrived for India and the BCCI to host a Women's IPL. The former Australian all-rounder said on Thursday that the cricket fraternity is of the opinion that there is enough domestic and international talent available for the mega event next year.

Although India has witnessed three editions of the three-team Women's T20 Challenge, a full-blown IPL remains a distant dream for women cricketers in India. Authorities have often attributed the lag to the absence of a high-quality domestic base akin to men's cricket.

Lisa Sthalekar, however, sees no such problem and instead feels that the wait for Indian fans for more women's franchises has stretched a bit too long.

"I, like a number of current players and broadcasters, believe that a women’s IPL could take place next IPL. I believe that there is enough domestic talent, and with internationals coming in, it could be such an exciting product. The Indian fans are craving more and more from their women’s team and they have had to wait a very long time to see them," Lisa Sthalekar told Sportstar.

The BCCI had plans to add another team to the 2021 edition of the Women's T20 Challenge, but the pandemic and the ensuing restrictions arrested those thoughts.

Last year, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly also spoke optimistically about the Women's IPL in 2022 but the progress remains uncertain.

Hard to see how countries not investing in women's game will win a T20 World Cup: Lisa Sthalekar

Lisa Sthalekar
Lisa Sthalekar

Some opponents of the Women's IPL also believe that India needs to win a multi-national tournament before contemplating an IPL. But Lisa Sthalekar feels that it's the other way around.

She said the national board's investment in women's cricket should be at par with the men's game for similar results.

"I have never believed in this theory. With other countries investing heavily in the women’s game, there are a number of countries that are starting to pull well ahead of others. Therefore, if national boards don’t give the same type of opportunities and investment, I find it hard to see how those countries will win a T20 World Cup," the ICC Hall of Fame inductee concluded.

For now, the Indian women's team has landed in England for an all-format tour which will kick off with a one-off Test on June 16.

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Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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