The Board of Control for Cricket in India is toying with the idea of conducting exhibition Twenty20 matches for women cricketers during the knock-out stages of the upcoming Indian Premier League, Times of India reported.

The Committee of Administrators chairman Vinod Rai, on Sunday, confirmed the development. “If we find that we can host a few exhibition matches then BCCI would like to do it this year. The women cricketers deserve to play IPL,” Rai said. The report added that should logistical issues be overcome, the exhibition matches could be a precursor for the much-awaited women’s IPL, which hinted, was imminent.

The push for a women’s IPL gathered steam on the back of Mithali Raj and Co’s stupendous run in the 2017 World Cup. Veteran opener Gautam Gambhir, last year, also called for the BCCI to conduct a women’s IPL and asked the matches to be played before the men’s matches kick-off.

The IPL Governing Council had a meeting about the same in October, where “members deliberated on the requirement” for the senior and junior women. Another COA member and former India captain Diana Edulji, however, said that there is plenty of work before the event takes shape, “The IPL GC may discuss it for sure. If it’s feasible we will do it. I am all for women’s IPL. But it’s too late this year to come up with a full-fledged event because of time constraint. We need a different window and, therefore, we can’t rush into it. It needs a lot of planning,” Edulji told Times of India.

Players from top nations such as England, Australia and South Africa, along with other Test nations are also expected to feature in the exhibition matches, if the move is green-lit. The Big Bash League in Australia has even successfully hosted the men’s and women’s events in parallel earlier this year.

The Indian team had a successful tour of South Africa, beating the Proteas women in both the ODI and T20I series - a historic double for the women in blue.