Women's cricket being well looked after by BCCI, can start full-fledged IPL with 6 teams: Mithali Raj

1 week ago 3

Batting great and India women's ODI team captain Mithali Raj has said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treats women's cricket as a priority and it shows with the way the cricket board was able to schedule the Women's T20 Challenge in the UAE and the proposed Sri Lanka tour.

Mithali Raj lauded the BCCI for making sure the Women's T20 Challenge is being held from November 4 to 9 in the wake of the pandemic, saying that the board wanted continuity. Raj, who has been training in Bengaluru, said she is confident that a full-fledged and franchise-based women's IPL is probably just 2 years away.

With the pandemic having a massive impact on the global sporting calendar, the BCCI had indefinitely postponed the IPL and the Women's T20 Challenge. However, after the T20 World Cup was postponed, the board made use of the September-November window and shifted the IPL out of the country to the UAE.

The BCCI later confirmed that the Women's T20 Challenge will be held in the UAE in the first week of November despite it clashing with the 2nd standalone season of the Women's Big Bash League, which starts on October 25 and runs until the final week of November.

The BCCI has not named the teams and the fixtures yet but, according to PTI, the players, both domestic uncapped and internationals, have been informed about their selection. The women's players will arrive in Mumbai for a week-long quarantine period by October 18 after which they will depart to the UAE. The four matches, involving 3 teams, are expected to be held in Sharjah.

"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 told India Today Sports Consulting Editor, Boria Majumdar in the latest episode of India Today Inspiration.

"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.

"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."

6 teams to start full-fledged Women's IPL: Raj

Meanwhile, Mithali Raj suggested that there can be 6 teams with top-quality international and India stars to begin the full-fledged IPL whenever it gets the go ahead. Only 3 teams will be featuring in the Women's T20 Challenge but Raj is hopeful that the BCCI will bring in the franchise-based system sooner than later.

"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 said.

"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.

"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."

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