The women’s T20 exhibition matches, which will be staged during the IPL 2019, are once again likely to be slotted during the playoffs as BCCI believes that it is the only window available for these games.
As stated earlier by the board officials, the matches are expected to have a 7 pm start to grab maximum eyeballs.
The one-off T20 between Supernovas and Trailblazers last year had a 2 pm start which attracted only a handful of fans at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The game, featuring women’s cricket stars like Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Meg Lanning, Elysse Perry and Suzie Bates, went down to the wire but could not create the buzz that the BCCI had hoped for despite being played ahead of the men’s IPL playoff game later in the evening.
“Like last year, the sole window we have is during the playoffs. But a lot depends on the election dates,” said a BCCI official on Monday.
“We are waiting for the Election Commission of India to announce the full schedule of the general elections and once that happens, we will finalise the schedule for the women’s games.
“A 7 pm start on days when the IPL games are not held makes more sense than staging them in the afternoon when not many people are likely to turn up again,” the official said.
The board is contemplating two formats for the women’s games: best of three matches between two teams or a round robin stage involving three teams, followed by the final.
“Logistically and even considering the players’ pool we have, the best of three games between two teams seems a lot more doable than forming three teams. The quality of the competition can’t be compromised and that is one of the reasons why a women’s IPL can’t be organised at the moment,” the official said.
Logistically, organising three women’s games on prime time will be a big challenge and it is only possible during the IPL playoffs.
The 2018 IPL was held from April 7 to May 27 and the entire tournament had only three rest days, two between playoffs and the final and no game was held a day after the league stage ended on May 20.
The BCCI last week announced the schedule of the first 17 IPL games starting March 23 while the rest of the scheduled is likely to be released after dates of general elections are announced.
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will host Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament opener in Chennai on March 23.