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Women's IPL : A dream yet underachieved - An Article By Ashwin Jangam

As Per, ESPN CRICINFO, A WBBL final which brought a record crowd and records TV ratings could herald a shift towards more primetime matches in the future as the tournament looks to its next stage of evolution.

Indian Premier League, the name is known to almost every person who follows the game across the globe. The most popular franchise cricket league in the world has garnered the attention of fans as well as cricketers. Every cricketer, whether Indian or foreign player, wishes to play in IPL to witness the grand event at least once. The scale of the event attracts many sponsors, resulting in making BCCI the richest cricketing board. The BCCI takes immense pride in hosting the event.

However, the same BCCI does not consider the idea of Women's IPL. The main untold reason for them not to consider the hosting of the same event for Women's cricket, is they are afraid to make less or no profit out of it. They are unsure if the Women's league can give them some revenue. Contradicting their views, leagues of franchise cricket for Women's like WBBL and English Premier League turned out to be a huge success in terms of revenue as well as viewership.

The experience of playing in these leagues have helped the Indian women cricketers to improve their game tremendously. I have already shared an article about the performance of Indians in WBBL. Likewise, the WIPL, if happening would be a boon to Indian women's cricket. The experience of sharing the dressing room with the international stars from a different team would be enthralling for local players. This would improve their game tremendously, giving them a boost.

The same happened in the T20 challenge when the upcoming stars for Women in Blue, Simran Bahadur and Kashvee Gautam and others told how sharing the dressing room with experienced players helped them improve the game. Seeing Sophie Ecclestone, Danielle Wyatt, Sune Luus play motivated the young players to up their level. The phenomenal dive by Natthakan Chantam to save a boundary helped Indian players set a benchmark for their fielding. These instances leave a long-lasting positive impact on the upcoming players.

But, even after knowing this, BCCI is reluctant to have WIPL. The reason they give is "we don't have that much depth to conduct a Women's IPL". However, depth is not a matter of concern, as India has as many as 100+ players who have done well in the domestic circuit. As pointed out by India born former Aussie skipper Lisa Sthlaker, if the senior challenger trophy can have 4 teams of 15 players each, which excluded 12 players from the India -Australia series and 10 more players who have played for more than 3 years at the international level, India have at least 82 players ready for the WIPL. The addition of a few international players will make the depth even greater.

In all, If there are 120 players overall, including Indian and overseas players, there can easily be 6 teams with a squad of 20 each. The squad of 30 in Men's IPL is just to ensure more young players are participating in the league, however, at the max 15-16 players get a chance to actually play. Likewise, if instead of having a squad of 30 players, a squad of 20 would be good enough for everyone to get the opportunity in the WIPL. The immense talent pool would be benefit by the league.

But the greed of cash-rich BCCI is not allowing to do so. BCCI wants to emulate the success of men's IPL, which is difficult due to less viewership for women's matches in India. Until the viewership of both men's and women's games comes at the same level, BCCI won't start WIPL. While doing so, they fail to realise, the WIPL could also be one of the major factors for Indian cricket fans to move to women's cricket, thereby increasing the viewership of not just the WIPL matches, but also all the matches where Women in Blue would play.

The CEO of KKR, Venky Mysore is extremely supportive of conducting the WIPL, in spite of knowing the losses his franchise can incur. In clear words, he said that sometimes "we need to just start the things instead of looking at the business and revenue point of it". If the franchise owners, who enter the leagues for business, are supportive of WIPL knowing that there won't be any profit for a few seasons, the board which is set up for promoting and developing the game should definitely consider it.

No one knows how long it will take to really achieve this dream of WIPL. But cricket experts across the globe are wishing it to happen. Stars like Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Danielle Wyatt have again and again mentioned about the best thing that could happen to promote the women's game would be WIPL. For now, the dream may be unachieved, but we can be sure that if every franchise owners think like Venky Mysore and go on to show their love for the game, WIPL will be an accomplished dream initially, and success in the seasons to come. For now, as cricket fans, we hope it happens, and it alleviates the level of Women's cricket in India and across the globe, bringing glory to the sport.

Author:- Ashwin Jangam (Cricket Analyst, Host, Poet, Entertainer )

Insta I'd:- cricket_creativity


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