The skipper of Indian women’s ODI cricket team wants BCCI to kick start women’s IPL as soon as they can. Mithali Raj urged the board to make it happen by 2021 on a smaller scale before gradually developing it.
“I personally feel they should start a women’s IPL by next year, even if it’s on a slightly smaller scale and with some changes in rules, such as, say, have five to six foreign players in the first edition instead of four as is the case with the men’s IPL,” said Raj in a chat with Annesha Ghosh for ESPN Cricinfo.
In support, Sunil Gavaskar also insisted to have a full-fledged women’s IPL from next year to uncover the hidden talent that Indian women cricketers have on the backdrop of India’s loss to Australia in the World T20 final this year.
In 2018, a two-team women’s tournament was held featuring IPL Trailblazers and IPL Supernovas led by Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur respectively. In 2019, one more team was added making it a three-team women’s tournament. IPL Velocity led by Mithali Raj was the new entrant. This year the BCCI had decided to add one more team to make it a four-team women’s T20 challenge, however, the tournament is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though it is known that there is a dearth of Indian women cricketers to organize a full-fledged IPL, Mithali believes it can still be conducted if existing franchises own teams to begin the process.
“I agree we don’t have the depth in the domestic pool yet, but the key is to get the existing franchises to form teams, even if (only) five or six of them are keen to begin the process because in any case, the BCCI was going to have four teams,” she averred.
Raj further added, “You cannot wait forever; you have to begin at some point, and gradually, year by year, you can keep evolving the league and then bring it down to four foreign players.”
Talking about the child prodigy Shafali Verma, who had an impressive run in the World T20, Raj feels the young-gun should be included in the ODIs too.
“It’s not a bad idea to consider her for the ODIs. She is young but that should not be a criterion for not giving her opportunities in the ODI side,” she said.
Source: ESPN Cricinfo