The BCCI currently has its hands full trying to figure out if it is going to be able to host the 2020 IPL in the midst of the corona virus shutdown. The IPL which is the richest domestic T20 cricketing tournament in the world provides a massive payday every year to both players and the BCCI.
Will There Be An IPL for Women?
The Indian women’s cricket team has grown more popular with every passing year. The team did very well for themselves in March when they made it to the final of the T20 World Cup in Australia. They ended up on the losing side but their performance throughout the world cup won them millions of fans in India.
One of the top players for the women’s cricket team, Mithali Raj believes that this is the right time for the BCCI to take advantage of the popularity of women’s cricket in India. She is calling for the BCCI to put together an IPL for women and thinks 2021 is the perfect time for the first edition to take place.
Mithali Raj is the former Indian captain and widely considered the best Indian batsmen the women’s game has produced so far. She has captained India in two ODI World Cup’s so far and is not very far from retirement given the fact that she will turn 38 in December 2020. She has played 89 T20 games for India so far and would love to be part of the IPL before she calls it a day.
BCCI President Okay For IPL In 2024
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has heard those calls to launch an IPL for women and he is open to the idea. However, he isn’t very keen on launching an IPL in 2021 nor anytime soon. Ganguly believes that the depth of talent in women’s cricket is not strong enough at the moment to proceed with an IPL at this stage.
Ganguly has gone on record to state that the women’s cricket team will have to wait another 4 to 5 years. The earliest that Ganguly can think of launching an IPL for women is in 2024. If this turns out to be the case, then veteran players like Mithali Raj will most likely not get the chance to play in an IPL as by that time she will be nearly 43 years old.
While it makes sense for the BCCI to launch a women’s IPL and create another lucrative revenue stream, the BCCI needs to ensure that there is enough star power in the women’s team to draw TV audiences. At the moment, India have just a few star players in Mithali Raj, current Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Poonam Yadav and the 16 year old Shafali Verma.
Start With Few Teams
Mithali Raj wants BCCI President Sourav Ganguly to reconsider his stance on hosting the women’s IPL in only 2024. She agrees with Ganguly that the talent depth is not as strong as it should be but believes launching a tournament like the IPL will help solve that problem as it will give more young players the exposure and the platform to shine.
Her suggestion to the BCCI is to change up the format and instead of going in with 8 franchises like the men’s tournament, to go in with maybe 5 or 6 IPL franchises for the inaugural edition. By reducing the number of franchises, there is more talent to go around and will also ensure that the women’s IPL gets completed in a shorter span of time.
Former captain Sunil Gavaskar has supported Raj’s push for a women’s IPL and said that the BCCI should proceed with an IPL for women as it would develop talent and boost women’s cricket in India.