THE BOARD of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is all set to organize an IPL-style exhibition match for women’s cricketers on May 22 before the first playoff match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The match, which has been sanctioned by IPL’s governing council will see four foreign players in each team and is expected to be a dry run for a potential women’s IPL in the future. The match will be broadcast live on Star at 2.30 pm.
The BCCI and CoA have been planning to promote and enhance the women’s game a lot more ever since the Indian team made it to the Women’s World Cup final last year. And while they have generally spoken about wanting to wait and watch before planning a women’s IPL, the exhibition match in 10 days’ time could well be the first step in that direction.
Confirming the development CoA chief Vinod Rai told The Indian Express, “This is being staged as a well-deserved exhibition to showcase the tremendous depth and capability that women’s cricket in India has achieved. We see it build into a women’s IPL tournament in a couple of years.”
Diana Edulji, the CoA member, added that the match will be in line with the IPL format. “It will be on the lines of the IPL. Totally there will be 10 foreign players and 20 Indian players across both teams. The Indian players will be picked by the national selection committee and the game, which will start at 2.30 pm, will be shown live,” she said.
The BCCI is learnt to be in touch with the cricket boards in England, Australia, South Africa and the names of foreign players is expected to be made public soon. There has been a call for India to ape the success of the WBBL in Australia and the women’s T20 league in England, which have grown in stature significantly over the last couple of years. Edulji, a former India captain, was prudent in her views over the launch of a women’s IPL.
“The idea was to promote women’s cricket and keep the momentum going. This is just to start and show that we can have a women’s IPL from next season. It’s just a thought. The IPL GC have sanctioned this exhibition game and now at least we will come to know the mood around women’s cricket.”
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