The success of Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 has made the case stronger for a full-fledged women’s IPL. Seeing the positive impact of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) on women’s cricket in Australia, one can’t help but think that time has come for all IPL franchises to have a women’s team of their own.
Australia won the final against the Indian women by a margin of 85 runs. It is for the fifth time that the Australian women’s team has won the World T20 title in cricket, which speaks a lot about the healthy state of women’s cricket there.
The record 86,174-strong crowd which came to witness the final at the iconic MCG gave ample proof in this regard. Much of the credit goes to WBBL for popularising the women’s game Down Under.
Women’s Big Bash League is showing the way
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Since the first edition of WBBL which was held in 2015, a lot of young and talented women cricketers have risen through the ranks. The impact of the subsequent editions saw more and more girls starting to play the game at the regional level in different age groups.
The most exciting thing about it was that an unprecedented number of girls were ready to take up the game professionally. They aspired to someday play for the national women’s team of Australia. Alyssa Healy, wicket-keeper of the Australian women’s team said about the changing scenario
“When I was growing up there wasn’t an opportunity for girls-only cricket, I played all my junior cricket with the boys so it is great that girls as young as six can try cricket.”
A women’s IPL can take things to the next level
The stature of women’s cricket has certainly grown in the past few years. A lot of international women cricketers have started to enjoy a decent fan following. It is however nowhere near the kind of popularity the likes of Steve Smith or Virat Kohli command all over the world.
But a women’s IPL can take things to the next level. The BCCI did organise a T20 Challenge in 2019 that saw three teams compete among themselves for the title.
At the international level, Indian women have come up with good performances consistently. In the ODI format, Indian women’s team lost the final of the Women’s World Cup 2017 by a close margin of 9 runs. Before losing the final this year, the Indian team had reached the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in the previous edition in 2018.
The richest cricket board must take the next logical step forward
The ICC and respective cricket boards of the Test playing nations have started to give due importance to the women’s game. It was in the year 2013 when Cricket Australia introduced a full-time payment structure for their female cricketers.
By 2015, all the Test-playing nations followed suit in terms of the full-time payment structure for women cricketers. The ICC has started to schedule the major tournaments for women strategically so that they can get the proper attention from both fans and broadcasters.
In such a scenario, the richest cricket board of the world in BCCI must take the next logical step and help elevate the status of the women’s game further. The IPL is after all the biggest T20 league in the world.
It may take some time though
However, Sourav Ganguly, the current President of BCCI thinks that it will take at least another four years for a women’s IPL with seven teams. He was quoted in the media recently as...
“You need to understand the practicality of it. You need a lot more women players. I see that in four years' time to get a seven-team IPL with best women players.”
No matter how much more time is needed for a full-fledged women’s IPL, one thing is assured - the 'Gentlewomen’s Game' will no longer be the same once it begins.
Published 12 Mar 2020, 17:23 IST