Ever since the Indian team started its quest for the 2017 Women’s World Cup, they have taken the cricket world by storm. Social network has been agog with congratulatory messages flowing from film starts, politicians and star men cricketers.
All this point to one thing — time is ripe for a mega tournament for women in India similar to Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia. Perhaps a Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL)?
The voices are only getting louder around the world. Australian captain Meg Lanning was the first to voice her views during the ongoing WWC that women’s IPL, like WBBL, is need of the hour to take women’s cricket forward.
Even former Indian opener Virender Sehwag has emphasised the need to have a big tournament like WIPL which can transform the status of women’s cricket in the country. He took to Twitter to write to BCCI vouching for a women’s IPL.
“I think it’s high time we have a Women’s IPL, just like they have Big Bash for women in Australia. Hope BCCI gives this gift quickly,” Sehwag tweeted.
However, former Indian women skipper Shantha Rangaswamy feels that it’s not too late even now for the richest cricket board (BCCI) to start a league like WIPL in India.
“By watching IPL, the girls are attracted to the game and that has helped them get into the sport. If there is an IPL for women, the girls will be rubbing shoulders with international players. BCCI is perhaps the strongest board in the world, and they will have another feather in their cap when they have the IPL as their baby,” said Rangaswamy.
“It was sad that BCCI let Australia and England overtake them and start their T20 leagues for women. But even now the BCCI must try and find a calendar for women’s league. IPL will attract a lot of girls to start playing.”
BCCI game for WIPL
The BCCI officials say they are keen on developing women’s cricket. “The BCCI is dead serious about having its own Women IPL. I hope that we should be able to chalk out the entire programme for this in the coming two months,” a top BCCI official told DNA.
Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) member and former India great Diana Edulji is also eager to push for this proposed mega event for eves.
“We are in talks of having a five-team Women IPL to start with. It is still on the drawing board. But now we need to look at it seriously. It will certainly encourage more cricketers to come out and play. We will tap in a lot more talent. I am happy that the women’s cricket is getting good coverage,” said Edulji.
Diana is spot on because the likes of Mithali Raj, Punam Raut, Jhulan Goswami and Harmanpreet Kaur have all become household names. Harmanpreet’s knock of unbeaten 171 off just 115 balls is being compared to that of Kapil Dev’s 175 in 1983 World Cup against Zimbabwe.
And this confidence has only come to her by playing for Sydney Thunder in the WBBL. Similarly, Smriti Mandhana’s game has also transformed after playing for Brisbane Heat in the Australian T-20 league.
The revolution has already started. From the time of no coverage during India’s World Cup final appearance in 2005, things have really turned around in a big way with some spectacular performances over the last fortnight or so.
There are many young girls who now want to emulate Mandhana and Harmanpreet. This is certainly no less than a revolution, and a women’s version of the IPL is certainly the need of the hour to help sustain it.