India’s T20 vice captain Smriti Mandhana reiterated that there is enough depth in Indian cricket for the introduction of a six-team women’s Indian Premier League.
The 25-year-old said the quality of domestic players has improved in the men’s game since the start of the T20 league and the same could be the case for women’s cricket.
Answering the oft-asked question – are there enough players for a full IPL – Mandhana pointed out that the state associations for men’s and women’s cricket were the same.
“There are same number of states for men and women. So, when they started men’s IPL, there were same number of states. But the quality went higher and higher as the years passed by,” Madhana said on Ashwin’s YouTube channel.
“What IPL is today, it wasn’t the same 10 or 11 years back. I think it’s the same for women’s cricket. We have same amount of girls playing cricket. For now, I think we will have good five or six teams to start with and probably grow to eight teams in one or two years. But till the time we don’t start, we don’t know,” she added.
Currently the BCCI hosts an exhibition event, the Women’s T20 Challenge, during the IPL which features three teams – Trailblazers, Supernovas and Velocity.
“Five-six teams, we are good to go with. But eight teams, I am still not sure how it will look like. But I think we really need to start with five or six teams so that we can actually get to eight teams very soon. I think till we don’t start, we are not giving exposure to our girls to turn their cricket into a really different level,” she said.
The batter gave the example of the women’s Big Bash League has led to an improvement in the bench strength of the Australian team, something which can be replicated in India with the women’s IPL.
“I played in Big Bash four years back and now the quality is very different. You can see that in Cricket Australia where they have 40-50 cricketers ready to play international cricket any day. So, I really want that to happen in Indian cricket. I think IPL will play a huge role in that,” Mandhana added.
The India opener also spoke about playing Test cricket again, the future of the format and more. Watch the full video here: