T20 cricket continues to expand its ever-growing influence, as the BCCI announced on Friday that plans have been set into motion to kickstart the women’s IPL.
IPL board president Sourav Ganguly has stated that the inaugural women’s IPL will possibly have five or six teams competing, with all the existing men’s IPL franchises showing interest in buying these teams.
“It has to be approved by the AGM. We plan to start it by next year hopefully,” Ganguly told reporters, ESPNCricinfo sources said.
The game’s shortest format has rapidly introduced more women’s franchise-based leagues since 2015, such as the WBBL in Australia and the semi-professional Women’s Cricket Super League in England that was formed 2016. Recently the ECB introduced the Women’s Hundred Tournament, where each match was played with 100 balls per innings.
However the introduction of a women’s IPL has constantly lagged behind despite the monumental success of the men’s competition, with discussions and planning never amounting to focused action. After multiple setbacks and logistical challenges, 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, reports at ESPNCricinfo said.
"We are at the level of formulation to have a full-fledged WIPL. It is certainly going to happen," Ganguly said.
"I strongly believe that next year 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."
Popularity for women’s cricket in India has skyrocketed ever since the national side showed signs of immense improvement on the international stage. They recently won the silver medal in the women’s twenty20 cricket competition at the Commonwealth Games, a testament to their growing stature and success as a team.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah was also confident and excited about the women’s IPL, and discussed the processes involved in setting up the tournament.
Reporting to The Hindu, Shah said in an interview “I am thrilled at the kind of response we have got from the stakeholders. Multiple existing IPL teams have enquired and expressed serious interest in owning WIPL franchises.”
The Women’s IPL earmarked to start in the first week of March 2023 and will run for four weeks in its inaugural year, just after the conclusion of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. The final number of teams and auctioning procedures is yet to be announced.