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Why women's domestic cricket in India need a hand

Pawan Verma
ANALYST
Feature
Timeless

India Blue lifts the 2017-18 Senior Women's Challenger Trophy
India Blue lifts the 2017-18 Senior Women's Challenger Trophy

Nurseries are known to be the prime source of fundamental education in any sector and for any individual, who braces the world as its playground for the future. Under its aegis youngsters are nurtured and developed for the time to come. Nurseries foster greenhorns to dream to be the Muhammad Ali of Boxing, Bill Gates of Technology, Sachin Tendulkar of Cricket or Roger Federer of Tennis of the next generation.

For any country or sport to produce such a magnificent group of athletes require a constant supply from these nurseries. And that's where the former Australian Women Captain Mel Jones' recent tweet fits in very well.

Mel Jones' tweet after Australia and England reach to the final of WWT20
Mel Jones' tweet after Australia and England reach to the final of WWT20

She is certainly overwhelmed with the rise of women's cricket at the international stage but when it comes to the crucial situations, crunch matches only the teams which have a robust grassroots structure to produce quality players go forward. However, there is no denying that a T20 game can turn in anyone's favour on a given day but to make the world believe in the power of development/investment at the lowest level was the idea behind it.

In the recently concluded Women's T20 World Cup, only the finalists Australia and England have the two world-class T20 leagues in place for girls i.e. Kia Super League and Women's Big Bash League. And players like Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Suzie Bates and Deandra Dottin to name a few, are the common names in both the leagues who have benefitted from the experience.

Playing for Western Storm in Kia Super League Smriti Mandhana went on to become the player of the tournament
Playing for Western Storm in Kia Super League Smriti Mandhana went on to become the player of the tournament

Multiple cricket boards have seen taking a keen interest in building up the women's cricket in their country. From distributing the central contracts to strengthen the domestic cricket, they look determined to take the game a step further.

Shifting over India, BCCI have made its intentions clear to develop shorter format by excluding the three-day game championship from the recent calendar and introducing a couple of competitive tournaments on its behalf. BCCI have also played its cards really well by allowing more States to participate in the upcoming season. More Participation, More Cricket.

Despite all the promises to the women cricket fraternity, BCCI yet to come up with the trump card for all its woes i.e. competition for the U-16 girls same as for boys and the tournament at the University Level. As discussed in the beginning, if there is not a constant supply from these levels the higher level would shrink to the limited resources and in no time the governing body could witness its effects.

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Mithali Raj addressing media after India vs Pakistan match
Mithali Raj addressing media after India vs Pakistan match

“Well, I definitely see IPL in say a year or two definitely because a lot of people back at home do talk about women’s IPL. But then it all boils down to the board and the franchises to come forward to get the setup going,” Mithali Raj said.

The ongoing debate of having a replica of men's IPL for women has heated up substantially since the 2017 Women's World Cup. From administrators to players are very much excited about the concept.

There are some definite benefits from the women's IPL to the women's cricket in India: 

- First and foremost, it will make Indian players financially secure. 

- It will expose our girls to the best of the coaches, facilities and foreign players. 

- More game exposure will help them get mentally strong. 

- More and more girls will take up the sport seriously. 

- And by all means, it will help BCCI setting up a culture for years to come.

Saurashtra Women celebrating their victory against Karnataka in an ODI match
Saurashtra Women celebrating their victory against Karnataka in an ODI match

For years, the cricket community has been raising its voice for such a magnificent tournament to happen but in the end, it all boils down to the mathematics of its financial viability. From BCCI administrators to all corporates/franchises they all have their eyes and ears to open for any development in this matter.

Nonetheless, a notable stride towards the upliftment of women's cricket in the domestic circuit can add a huge value to the BCCI's portfolio.

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