India ODI captain Mithali Raj has urged BCCI to organise the women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) by 2021, citing that it should not “wait forever” and also said that the women’s IPL, unlike the men’s edition, could initially be played on a “smaller scale”.
“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,” Mithali Raj told ESPNcricinfo.
The BCCI has started a league – Women’s T20 Challenge with a one-off exhibition match in 2018 in Mumbai. Last year three teams played the tournament during the IPL Playoff week in Jaipur. This year a total of seven matches are scheduled to take place in the tournament.
However, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the nation-wide lockdown has been going on in the country, the possibility to the tournament being played remains highly unlikely. While it is not unknown that India currently doesn’t have the depth in women’s cricket what it should have, Mithali Raj suggested all the existing IPL franchises could own teams to grow the women’s tournament.
“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 (in the Women’s T20 Challenge),” Mithali Raj concluded. “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.”
Earlier, batting great Sunil Gavaskar had also urged BCCI President Sourav Ganguly to plan to organise a Women’s IPL in the country from 2021 as well.