India’s captain and the leading run-scorer in women’s ODI cricket, Mithali Raj expressed her belief that the time is right for women’s IPL.
Although India lost the recently-concluded World Cup finals to host nation England, they did manage to garner a lot of support and gained a larger following of home fans during this ICC event. A lot of this was down to their fearless style of play and displaying consistency.
The fact that women’s cricket was being televised also added to the intrigue and support.
After players like Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana played the Women’s Big Bash League earlier this year and considering how India’s other players, Poonam Raut and Veda Krishnamurthy shone with the bat during the World Cup, the next logical question to Mithali Raj was whether she now expected a women’s IPL.
Speaking to the media, the Indian captain was quite clear in her response believing that if this question was asked of her a few years ago, she may not have supported the idea, but now with the increase of standard in performances, this could be the right time.
Raj said: “If you had asked me this question, a couple of years back, probably I would not (support the idea to have women’s IPL), but now since after going to the World Cup and the way they have responded and improved the standard of women’s cricket, taking it to different level.”
Women’s T20 leagues are now picking up. Australia have completed two seasons of WBBL and now England’s second edition of their Kia Super League will be starting off in a couple of weeks which will see India’s Harmanpreet Kaur back in action, along with Sri Lanka’s Chamari Attapatu and many others from world cricket.
This increase in T20 leagues has contributed to improved exposure and lifted the standards that are now proving beneficial on the world stage.
Mithali Raj went on to praise the BCCI for bringing structure into India’s women’s cricket. There is now a growing emphasis on U16s, U19s and U23s, which the skipper has been a part of too. It’s this effort that should propel a continuous improving of skill set at the highest level.
As for Women’s IPL, that will now be down to the BCCI. We certainly think the time is ripe.