On the day when the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is going to commence in Mumbai, reports of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) deciding to launch a six-team women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) for next year have delighted cricket enthusiasts.
It has also left players in the ongoing ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup excited about India finally taking the plunge for a full-fledged T20 league in women’s cricket.
No one knows when the decision for women’s IPL taken in the governing council meeting on Friday will be approved by the AGM. For now, players are excited and optimistic about the T20 league in women’s cricket seeing the light of day.
India opener Shafali Verma, who came into the limelight with a scintillating 31-ball 34 as a 15-year-old for her team Velocity in the 2019 Women’s T20 Challenge and impressed many, including England opener Danni Wyatt. Now Verma, who has made her debut across all formats for India and is in the ongoing World Cup in New Zealand, was happy with the prospect of women’s IPL.
“It has been said that women’s IPL next year will have six teams, which is a very good thing. All our women players, including the domestic cricketers, will get to learn a lot, which is a very good thing. My favourite IPL team is Mumbai Indians. I enjoy and love watching them play; you get to learn a lot,” said Verma ahead of India’s virtual knockout match against South Africa in Christchurch.
Shafali has been a beneficiary of participating in women’s T20 leagues around the world and developing her skillsets. Last year, she turned out for Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred competition and played for Sydney Sixers in the women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
South Africa all-rounder Chloe Tryon, whose experience in franchise cricket was with London Spirit in The Hundred last year, has called for leagues across the world to happen for women’s cricket. “It’s fantastic for women’s cricket. If you’ve looked at how successful the big bash has been and The Hundred just coming back into it. We want things like this to happen. You want leagues around the world. We want to showcase our skill and it’s fantastic to see that there are six teams now.”
“I think a lot of people, not just me are really eager to want to play there. We know how it is to play in India and how the crowds are; it’s really good. I’m really excited to see how that goes. I’ll hopefully want to play; we’ll just see how that goes. But it’s really exciting for women’s cricket as you can see this World Cup is getting a lot of attention and I’m just thankful that they are looking at it and putting women’s cricket on the platform. So, it’s really exciting.”
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine, who played twice for Supernovas in the first two editions of the Women’s T20 Challenge in India, believes that the introduction of full-scale women’s IPL will take women’s cricket to a whole new level altogether.
“It’s a really exciting prospect. We’ve seen it with the WBBL even, the KSL (Kia Super League) and the Hundred over in England, what it’s done for women’s cricket has been outstanding and we’ve all said that soon as there’s a women’s IPL, cricket around the world absolutely going to take off and I’m really excited to hear that.”
“It’s been a long time coming and fingers crossed I can be involved in such a tournament. I just think it’s fantastic. The more opportunities that female cricketers can get to play around the world the better because I think you’re starting to see how the standard of the game is improving around the world,” said Devine after New Zealand defeated Pakistan by 71 runs.
Several stakeholders in women’s cricket, including premier cricketers like Ellyse Perry and cricketer-turned-broadcaster Lisa Sthalekar, had been demanding for women’s IPL to happen as India reached the final of the 2017 ODI World Cup and 2020 T20 World Cup.
When the first ball of the full-fledged women’s IPL will be bowled, many of them will get a chance to be delighted by the spectacle and potential offered by women cricketers participating in the league.