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Women’s IPL: Is it feasible now in this current scenario?

Be it Women’s IPL or preparing a strong India A team, only BCCI can answer in which way they want to see the growth in Women’s Cricket.

Shruti Banerjee
Last updated: 08.03.2019
Women’s IPL: Is it feasible now in this current scenario | Sports Social Blog

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Indian Premier League, better known as IPL, is one of the tournaments which always take the limelight away from other leagues since it’s beginning in 2008.

On 13th September 2007, the then vice-president of BCCI, Lalit Modi announced the franchise based tournament, Indian Premier League (IPL), to attract the cricket fans. Since the first edition of the tournament, it left no stone unturned to amaze people.

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The IPL became the first tournament in the world to be broadcast live on YouTube in 2010. According to Duff & Phelps, in 2018, the brand value of IPL was US$6.3 billion and according to BCCI, the 2015 edition contributed 11.5 billion (US$182 million) to the GDP of the Indian economy.

Over the years, IPL has tried to become the bridge between the domestic circuit and international games. We have got many talented players through this league – Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Jaspreet Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Yazuvendra Chahal are among them. This league made the foundation for many players – be it financially or recognition wise.

However, with this sky-high success in the men’s IPL, there was a thought in everyone’s mind that women’s IPL should start for the betterment of the Women’s Cricket which will certainly bring more awareness and talented players in the Women’s Cricket.

Sometimes, you need to show your performance to come in the limelight and the ICC World Cup in 2017 was the key to their new journey. India played exceptionally well in the tournament and reached the final. Though they lost against England by 9 runs, their effort didn’t go unnoticed.

Before the World Cup, how many of you knew that India reached the final of the ICC World Cup in 2005 and Mithali Raj was the captain? I am sure there are very few people who knew this.

Since the World Cup, people started noticing their game, talking about their records and raising their voice about equal pay. Some changes did happen; the performance bar has been raised. They have become consistent in performing, became the semi-finalist of the ICC World T20 last year in West Indies and stumped their authority in the world cricket.

After the 50-over World Cup in 2017, everyone urged for the Women’s IPL. One of the main reasons could be the monetary problem which is not allowing BCCI to organize that kind of a tournament. Because of the less broadcast, Women’s Cricket didn’t have much viewers – be it on television or on the ground.

These empty stadiums, less viewers and the less quality players in the domestic circuit became the hurdle in the way of the Women’s IPL also. In this scenario, BCCI has to bear all the expenses till then they get more viewers or franchises. Hence, BCCI is still in a doubt whether they should give it a try or not.

But, BCCI is the richest cricket board in the world. Then, giving the excuse of financial problem wouldn’t make any sense, right?

On the other hand, Australia and England have already started their T20 leagues – Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) and Kia Super League (KSL) respectively. Both the tournaments are huge popular not only in their country but also in the whole world.

If the Indian players too will get the chance to play with the International players, this not only help them to grow but they will get to know how to absorb pressure also in the big games. This tournament certainly pushes the players to the extreme and this is a high chance that we might get a pool of quality players.

However, Mithali Raj recently urged for the age group World Cup. Who knows, if the Women’s IPL starts, we might get those players who can win the World Cup for the country? Then, hopefully, they will get the sponsors as well.

India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and Veda Krishnamurthy have already played in the foreign leagues. Kaur was the first Indian to be played in the WBBL for Sydney Thunder. Smriti Mandhana too has played for Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes.

Veda Krishnamurthy had played for Hurricanes as well. Kaur and Mandhana were a part of the KSL also. Their game has changed a lot and become better after playing these leagues. In this era of T20, you need be power hitter and Kaur and Mandhana left no stone unturned to amaze people with their bat.

If the other players get the chance to rub the shoulders with the foreign players, that will surely help in their game also. However, ICC too decided that T20 could be the way, Women’s Cricket will move forward.

At first, Women's IPL might not make huge money but it will certainly help to structure the Women’s Cricket. Meanwhile, the board have to rely on the players – be it national players or the domestic players.

Being said that, India still struggles to get more viewers on the ground. The attendance was nearly 200 in a city like Mumbai in the recently concluded ODI between India and England. If this happens in the Women’s IPL, the franchises will surely struggle.

Being played in front of a packed up Lords’ in the final of the ICC World Cup in 2017, can India promise to show something like this in the Women’s IPL? The question is still unanswered.

As far as the concern of the domestic players, they are way behind of any country’s players. They have just started getting attention and training like professionals. Though Women’s IPL is feasible now financially, it wouldn’t be able to give the return as of now.

If not Women’s IPL, what about a strong India A team?

The board needs to invest more in the domestic circuit so that India could have strong bench strengths like Australia, England and the other countries. There were only three advertisements were running on the television during the ICC World T20 last year. But sometimes, you have to think big and out of the box instead of your profit.

Last year, one exhibition Women's T20 Challenge was played in Mumbai, comprised of two teams - the IPL Supernovas and the IPL Trailblazers, led by Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana respectively. Both the teams had a mix of Indian and international players. The international players like Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Danielle Wyatt etc. played with India’s Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav etc.


In Image: Virat Kohli with Smriti Mandhana before T20 challengers game

The match was a test whether Women’s IPL is feasible or not. The game had a nail biting last-ball end and it was telecast by the board's host broadcaster, attendance was poor at the ground. Starting might be a cause as the game had a 2 pm start.

However, according to a BCCI official, the full fledged Women’s IPL is far away due to the absence of investors, but the women’s T20 matches will be played this year also with the three teams for a week during the men’s IPL.

Be it Women’s IPL or preparing a strong India A team, only BCCI can answer in which way they want to see the growth in Women’s Cricket.


Watch the highlights T20 challengers game 2018




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