Mithali Raj highlighted her statement that the BCCI should not “wait forever” in order to organise the women’s IPL, and hence hopes the inaugural tournament of Women’s IPL to be held in 2021. Mithali, being the most experienced player in women’s cricket, suggested that the women’s IPL could initially commence 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,” Raj told.
Raj has been the second major voice in Indian cricket to have urged the BCCI to start the women’s IPL sooner rather than later.
The BCCI, upon being acknowledged by the growing popularity of women’s T20Is, has scheduled a four-team contest in this year’s Women’s T20 Challenge with seven matches compared to last year’s four which was supposed to have run parallel to the men’s IPL playoffs, but the tournament has now been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sunil Gavaskar too had a say when India lost to Australia in the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup last month, that it actually made sense to start the women’s IPL because that would only “earn” more younger talent that could help India win global titles.
However, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly after taking charge last October had said that a full-fledged women’s IPL was at least “four years away” for India’s talent pool has been perceived to be thin.
“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.” Raj said.
In order to emphasise her point, she gave the epitome of a 16-year-old sensation Shafali Verma, who was one of the most impressive batters in the recent T20 World Cup.
Although Raj agreed with Ganguly but, like Sunil Gavaskar, she stressed that a women’s IPL would only boost the numbers and further suggested some of the existing IPL franchises who could own teams to facilitate the women’s tournament.