Women’s cricket in India has seen an enormous rise in terms of its popularity and the people following it. The credit to make that happen must be given to the Indian women’s team that came close to a touching distance of winning the World Cup in 2017 in England.
The likes of Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana attained a cult status among country’s cricket lovers.
In a country where the modern trend dictates that a game’s popularity should be measured by the popularity of its franchise-based league, people wondered if there should also be a women’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India surely though in the same way and conducted an exhibition T20 match as a trial to understand what the fate could be for the women’s competition.
Not many had turned up at the Wankhede Stadium for the Women’s T20 Challenge. But that did not deter the BCCI as they made the 2019 edition a bigger and three-team affair in Jaipur.
Held at the same time during the men’s IPL playoffs, the second edition saw almost packed-house in every match, prompting the speculations further for a standalone women’s tournament.
Speaking about the possibility of a women-only IPL, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said that it will take the board another four years to make that a reality.
“You need to understand the practicality of it. You need a lot more women players. I see that in four years’ time, to get a seven-team IPL with the best women players,” Ganguly was seen saying to India Today.
In the last few years, the BCCI, too, has put on extra efforts for the betterment of women’s cricket and one such effort is the re-introduction of A tours. The tours are expected to have a deeper and more positive impact on the game.
Ganguly, meanwhile, has also asked the state associations to be given some time, to develop the local infrastructures of women’s cricket and bridge the wide gap between the standard of international and domestic cricket.
“You have to let the state association teams get stronger, a lot of them are getting stronger. The push for women’s cricket has been enormous over the last few years,” the 47-yar-old cricketer-turned-administrator said.
“Three years down the line, when you have 150-160 players, you can take the IPL forward. Right now, we have 50-60 players. With the push BCCI has for women’s cricket, that will only increase,” he added.