At this stage, it would seem everyone but the Board of Control for Cricket in India thinks a Women’s Indian Premier League is long overdue.
The Indian T20 captain, vice captain, even one of the existing IPL franchise owners, are among those who believe it is time (for a while now). Cricketers, current and former, from other countries have called for it too. But all we hear is that it is going to happen eventually, and that tomorrow still hasn’t become today.
The most recent voices to add their weight to the start of a WIPL, or a tournament of that sort, are the New Zealand cricket stars, Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates and Amelia Kerr.
NZ captain Devine, who recently led Perth Scorchers to the title in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, was responding to a query on Monday at an event to mark the beginning of live cricket streaming on Amazon Prime Video in India. New Zealand men and women’s home matches will now be streamed on the platform from the new year.
“I think that the success of WBBL in Australia has been enormous and raised the profile of that,” Devine said. “The standard of cricket as well has certainly improved and I guess that the international players have been a part of it. Likewise, we needed a number of Indian players playing in the WBBL, which was fantastic. I would love to see a women’s IPL kick off. I think that’s certainly the next step in taking the game globally for the women’s side of things. So, fingers crossed for the next few years for it to be on the cards.”
And once Devine mentioned it, Bates and Kerr agreed with her.
“Any franchise opportunities supporting the international game is the key for the game growing and India is the next big step in my opinion after the success of the WBBL and The Hundred competition in England,” her NZ teammate Bates added.
All-rounder Kerr, who has also played the women’s exhibition competition in India, echoed the sentiment.
“They’ve started with a few exhibition matches but we speak of the passion and the love for the game that India has and how successful the men’s IPL is. I think a woman’s IPL would be incredible,” the 21-year-old added.
BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly has recently said that the plans are being considered for the start of a tournament soon.
However, the Women’s T20 Challenge hasn’t happened this year, even if the tournament is just an exhibition of sorts for a few matches.
Indian cricketers, on the other hand, represented a few teams in the WBBL with a record number of players featuring in the event. Harmanpreet Kaur was the player of the tournament for the recently concluded event that was won by Devine-led Perth Scorchers.