The long wait for the Women’s Indian Premier League (W-IPL) to get underway is now finally nearing an end. Shashank Kishore in his report in the ESPN Cricinfo has quoted, “The BCCI has earmarked a window in March 2023 for the inaugural women’s IPL, and the process to get the show on the road is underway.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been conducting the Women’s T20 Challenge for a few years now. It had initially started as a one-off exhibition match between two teams in the first season which soon grew into a three-team competition and sees many top-quality overseas players join in as well. The three-team competition has recorded excellent viewership and the soft voices of wanting a fully-fledged W-IPL took louder noises.
BCCI President, Mr Saurav Ganguly early this had said, “We are at the level of formulation to have a full-fledged W-IPL. It is certainly going to happen. I strongly believe that next year (2023) will be a very good time to start a full-fledged women’s IPL which will be as big and grand a success as men’s IPL.”
BCCI secretary, Mr Jay Shah in May said, “I am thrilled at the kind of response we have got from stakeholders. Multiple existing IPL teams have enquired and expressed serious interest in owning W-IPL franchises,” hinting at the launch of the W-IPL. It was around that time that Rajasthan Royals who also own the Barbados Royals franchise in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) publicly expressed interest in owning a team in the W-IPL. The Knight Riders Group also have been expanding their teams are another keen franchise on owing a team in the W-IPL.
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It also is learnt that the existing IPL franchises are likely to be given the first right of denying when it comes to buying teams. However, there are yet to hear it officially from the board. The BCCI is expected to discuss matters relating to the W-IPL at their upcoming annual general meeting in September and much of the planning around the tournament will be around the sale of media rights.
The BCCI’s domestic calendar release which generally runs the show from November to April is now all set to get underway a month early which is believed to be done to squeeze in the women’s IPL. The senior women’s season for 2022-23 is all set to get underway on October 11 with the T20 competition and will run till February next year with the inter-zonal one-day competition.
The wait among fans for a Women’s Indian Premier League to get underway has been a long-awaited one and so there’s no doubt that when the W-IPL gets up and running next year it’ll grandly be welcomed by viewers from all over the globe.
Not just fans, but even players too have been waiting for the W-IPL to get going and the wait is such that recently retired Mithali Raj can take the call to come out of retirement to feature in the league. In her candid conversation on the ICC’s 100% cricket podcast, Mithali said, “I’m keeping that option open. I’ve not yet decided. There are a few more months to go before the Women’s IPL happens. It would be lovely to be part of the first edition of the Women’s IPL.”
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