Indian opener Smriti Mandhana feels that the women’s IPL should start with five or six teams as there is a lot of depth in women’s cricket in the country.
Smriti recently came back from the Hundred, scoring 167 runs in seven matches at an average of 27.83. She took Trailblazers to victory in the women’s T20 challenge in the UAE last year. Smriti has also played for Western Storm in the Kia Super League in England and represented Brisbane Heat in the women’s Big Bash League in Australia.
“There are same number of states for men and women. So, when they started men’s IPL, there were same number of states. But the quality went higher and higher as the years passed by. What IPL is today, it wasn’t the same 10 or 11 years back. I think it’s the same for women’s cricket. We have same amount of girls playing cricket. For now, I think we will have good five or six teams to start with and probably grow to eight teams in one or two years. But till the time we don’t start, we don’t know,” said Smriti in an episode on Ravichandran Ashwin’s YouTube channel.
The 25-year-old also said that there is no point in having a conversation about knowing the depth of women’s cricket in India without any competition like IPL. “We can’t always have the conversation like is there any depth or no. We have never had a competition in women’s cricket which is like six teams in a T20 tournament. So, we don’t know if we have or no. How can we just judge and say we don’t have?”
She reiterated her idea of having five or six teams in women’s IPL so that women cricketers in India get exposure. “Five-six teams, we are good to go with. But eight teams, I am still not sure how it will look like. But I think we really need to start with five or six teams so that we can actually get to eight teams very soon. I think till we don’t start; we are not giving exposure to our girls to turn their cricket into a really different level.”
Smriti concluded by giving an example of Australia. “I played in Big Bash four years back and now the quality is very different. You can see in Australia where they have 40-50 cricketers ready to play international cricket any day. So, I really want that to happen in Indian cricket. I think IPL will play a huge role in that.”