India ODI captain as well as one of the stalwarts of the game, Mithali Raj praised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for treating women’s cricket as a priority. Her appreciation came after the board took the initiative to host the Women’s T20 Challenge in the UAE and the proposed Sri Lanka tour after that.
The Women’s T20 Challenge is scheduled to take place from November 4 to 9 during the play-offs of the 2020 edition of Indian Premier League (IPL). While the tournament will be played among three-teams in a round-robin format, Mithali Raj hopes to have a full-fledged and franchise-based women’s IPL within 2 years.
“I think in another 2 year’s time we will have a platform to have women’s’ IPL too”: Mithali Raj
“I think in another 2 year’s time we will have a platform to have women’s’ IPL too. Somewhere hosting the women’s IPL and giving us the prime time and giving us the venue to play says that the BCCI is pushing forward or giving women’s cricket the kind of priority that we women’s cricketers need,” Mithali Raj said to India Today Sports Consulting Editor, Boria Majumdar in the latest episode of India Today Inspiration.
She further added, “Also, getting these bilateral series going, on the whole, I don’t see how we are not looked after, we are well looked after by the BCCI and the players definitely are looking forward to playing in the UAE.”
Like other sports, women’s cricket too has suffered a lot amid the crunch situation of the global pandemic novel coronavirus. While the team last featured in the ICC T20 World Cup final in Australia on March 8, their tour to England has been cancelled as well.
With the postponement of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the BCCI decided to host the IPL 2020 in UAE, keeping the increasing number of positive cases in India in mind. However, the Women’s T20 Challenge, which is going to take place in the first week of November – will clash with the second standalone season of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
WBBL 06 is all set to begin from October 25 and conclude in the final week of November. While the BCCI hasn’t confirmed the squad and the fixtures yet, Mithali Raj, who has been training in Bengaluru applauded the board for hosting the tournament amid this crunch time.
“For BCCI, women’s cricket is a priority because hosting the women’s IPL in such difficult times, that itself tells they want to have the continuity going from the last edition into this year. Even though we will miss out on world-class players, I think it will give an opportunity for young players and a lot of uncapped domestic players to get some matches,” Mithali Raj further added.
“All of us are looking forward to playing the WIPL”: Raj
Meanwhile, according to PTI, the players, both domestic uncapped and internationals, have been asked to assemble in Mumbai by October 13 for a week-long quarantine period before they will leave for the UAE. The Women’s T20 Challenge comprised of four matches, involving three teams, are likely to take place in Sharjah.
“All of us are looking forward to playing the WIPL. I have seen how the viewership skyrocketed with the men’s IPL. And I am sure that if the matches are televised, we are coming back from a good 3-4 month hiatus, maybe we may not be at our best but we are certainly going to give our best and put on a great show so that there’s continuity,” Raj explained.
On the other hand, Mithali Raj suggested that a full-fledged IPL with 6 teams can be formed with top-quality international and India players, to begin with. While the one-off exhibition match played between Supernovas and Trailblazers in 2018 in Mumbai, one more team was added in 2019 – Team Velocity. With three teams and four matches, the tournament became successful. This year it was about to be a four-team tournament but COVID-19 pandemic put a halt in every sporting event across the globe.
“In a couple of year’s time, there will maybe be a full-fledged franchise sort of women’s IPL in India. Well, we are already fielding in 3 teams. Last edition and this year, it’s a 3-team tournament. So maybe, we can have 6 teams. You can relax a bit of a rule of fielding overseas players, maybe for the first edition as the tournament continues, maybe we change the rules,” hoped the highest run-getter in ODI.
“But to start off, 6 teams with quality international players and top-class domestic players, I personally feel that should start the whole franchise based league,” concluded Mithali Raj.