With signs that the long wait for a Women’s Indian Premier League could soon be a reality, it has been reported that the Board of Control for Cricket in India is planning to launch a full-fledged tournament in 2023. Although there has been no official world from the BCCI yet, the board’s chief Sourav Ganguly confirmed ahead of men’s IPL 2022 that plans are indeed in place to kickstart the women’s IPL next year should it be approved at the Annual General Meeting.

“It has to be approved by the AGM,” said Ganguly recently. “We plan to start it by next year hopefully.”

The 15th edition of men’s Indian Premier League is currently underway. But as far as the women’s game is concerned, all the BCCI has done until now is organise an occasional three-team T20 Challenge tournament. It is expected to continue in 2022 as well, with another likely three-team mini event.

However, even though many believe the arrival of a women’s IPL has been overdue, current international cricketers from around the world have welcomed the development.

Speaking to reporters during the ongoing ICC Women’s ODI World Cup, a number of players shared their excitement at the prospect of an annual women’s IPL.

Here’s what they had to say:

Australia’s Alyssa Healy

Reporter: I wanted to ask you about the announcement of the possible women’s IPL and PSL as well, obviously hugely exciting developments still for the women’s game. How are you feeling about those tournament’s first of all, and I also wanted to know if you have any worries about how scheduling conflicts might affect the international schedule when it comes to broader women’s cricket?

Healy: Yeah, I think the announcement for those competitions is pretty great. It’s exactly where we thought that the women’s game needed to go, that was like the next step. We’ve had a really successful WBBL, the KSL went really well and now into The Hundred... there are some thriving domestic competitions. So to see the announcement of the IPL, in particular, to be able to grow the game in India is unbelievable. It’s such an untapped market I feel in the women’s game, with that many people. Surely, they’re going to be unbeatable in sort of a 10-year time. They just really needed a sort of a leg up in that domestic setup to showcase what these amazing women can do. 

So yeah, it’s really exciting. It was the next step and you’re right, the scheduling is going to come into play. Obviously what that looks like I’m not 100% certain but we’re going to have to work it out. Whether or not international players are going to be available for all the domestic competitions, with an increase in international cricket or whether there’s a focus on these domestic leagues, I’m not 100% certain. But first and foremost, it’s just great to see them being spoken about. Hopefully see them get off the ground. 

If they want a 32 to 33-year-old opening better that can chirp a little bit behind the stumps, I’m available (laughs).

India’s Shafali Verma

Reporter: We have heard that next year, there are chances of a Women’s IPL. Do you think it’s good for the Indian cricket team? You have played The Hundred and other leagues. So do you think the IPL idea is good? And is there any IPL favorite team, for which you would like to play?

Shafali: Yeah, we heard that for the next IPL, they have included six teams. It is very good thing. Our team and domestic players will have an opportunity to learn a lot from it. Mumbai Indians is my favourite IPL team. I enjoy watching their matches.

New Zealand’s Sophie Devine

Reporter: You have been part of women’s T20 Challenge exhibition games in India. And now BCCI has proposed a six-team Women’s IPL for 2023. What are your thoughts on having a full-fledged tournament which could develop women’s cricket globally given the impact of men’s IPL has been unmatched?

Devine: I think it’s a really exciting prospect. I think we’ve seen it with the WBBL, even the KSL and The Hundred over in England, what it’s done for women’s cricket has been outstanding. We’ve all said that as soon as there’s a women’s IPL, cricket around the world absolutely is going to take off and I’m really excited to hear that. It’s been a long time coming and fingers crossed I can be involved in such a tournament. I just think it’s fantastic. I think the more opportunities that female cricketers can get to play around the world the better because I think you’re starting to see now the standard of the game is improving around the world.

Reporter: You mentioned about taking some time off to reflect and you’ll not be making any calls anytime soon. I just wanted to figure out from you, personally speaking, will playing in an IPL be part of that planning?

Devine: Certainly if the opportunity comes, I think. Yeah, as I mentioned, I think for me as a cricketer, it’s certainly a really exciting challenge to be able to go over and play in different leagues and different conditions and to mix and mingle with different cultures and different teammates. It’s certainly something that excites me. But yeah, I’m going to take some time to just sit back and reflect on what’s been a pretty full-on six to 12 months. But it’s exciting to hear that if there is a women’s IPL up and running that, yeah I’ll certainly think about hitting the rank.

South Africa’s Chloe Tryon

Reporter: There have been reports of the BCCI mulling a six-team Women’s IPL next year. You have played in some of the best women’s domestic tournaments in the world over - so what does that mean to players from the South African camp, are you interested? Are you looking forward to something like the women’s IPL being launched and do you have any favourite teams that you hope some of the South Africans, including yourself, could be recruited in?

Tryon: Look It’s fantastic for women’s cricket. If you’ve looked at how successful the Big Bash has been and The Hundred – just coming back into it. We want things like this to happen. You want leagues around the world. We want to showcase our skill and it’s fantastic to see that there are six teams now. So yeah, I think a lot of people, not just me, are really eager to want to play there. We know how it is to play in India. We know how the crowds are. It’s really good. So I’m really excited to see how that goes. I’ll hopefully want to play, we’ll just see how that goes. But yeah, it’s really exciting for women’s cricket as you can see this World Cup is getting a lot of attention and I’m just thankful that they are looking at it and putting women’s cricket on the platform. So it’s really exciting.

Inputs from ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020