Why IPL For Women Is The Need Of The Hour

| Updated: 08 August, 2022 6:16 pm IST

BENGALURU: On Sunday, Indian Women lost to Australia by nine runs in a nail-biting final of the Commonwealth Games to settle for a silver. Throughout the tournament, the Indian team played top-flight cricket and won their matches – barring the ones against Australia – to reach the final. In the end, Australia’s ability to hold their nerve during tense moments and the presence of a slew of all-rounders tilted the fortunes in their favour.

In 2017, the Indian Women lost the 50-over World Cup final as well.

The performance of India’s women’s cricket team has been stellar in the last few years across all formats, but they have not been able to win a major tournament. That, however, shouldn’t take away from their glittering record. The time has come for the Board of Control for Cricket in India to look at a few things.

There has been a lot of debate about the pay disparity between India’s men and women cricketers, but nothing much has come out of it. Yes, the overall coverage and remuneration of women cricketers have gone up, but it is still not a patch on their men counterparts. One of the reasons trotted out for the disparity was that the men’s cricket team was doing exceptionally well on an international stage and hence deserved more perks and privileges.

But Indian Women have proved their mettle by playing sterling cricket over the last few years despite limited resources. The excuse of them not doing as well as their men counterparts no longer holds water.

Another important aspect to look at is that the Australian women – who won the gold medal and are currently the World T20 champions – are playing Big Bash in their country, which has improved their skills considerably, apart from boosting their financial status. Interestingly, Australian Women defeated Indian Women in the final of the World T20 in 2020 as well. Clearly, the Big Bash for Women, which started in 2015-16, has done wonders for their cricketing abilities. That is one of the biggest reasons why Australian Women are doing amazingly well in limited-overs cricket.

Indian Women, on the other hand, participate in some domestic T20 tournaments but clearly lacks a grand stage such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) or Big Bash. The demand for a Women’s IPL has gained immense traction in the last couple of years, with many women cricketers expressing their desire for such a big-scale league.

The IPL for Women will not only benefit current cricketers but will also aid in the discovery of new talent, which will ultimately benefit the Indian team’s prospects. Rubbing shoulders with some of the best international cricketers and indulging in high-voltage contests will also be handy in their learning to absorb the pressure of big-match pressure in a more adroit manner. Of course, the better monetary rewards will attract more women to take up the sport and will provide much-needed financial security to the current ones. But most importantly, it will enhance the stature and quality of Indian cricket manifold.

From 2008 onwards, when the men’s IPL kicked off, India truly became the powerhouse of cricket. It not only brought an array of talented youngsters to the fore, but it also served as the ideal platform for them to develop their temperament and hone their skills. It also prepared them to shed the fright of the big stage and express themselves on the field uninhibitedly. That is why so many youngsters look supremely confident, even on their debut.

The opportunity to share the dressing rooms and interact with top international cricketers gives them enormous learning and experience.

The BCCI, at present, is flush with funds. Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, has also given assurance that the IPL for women would begin soon. The time to commence couldn’t have been better. India’s women cricketers – current as well as aspiring ones – need more marketing, financial rewards, coverage and certainly a cash-rich T20 league to push the envelope and blaze a trail.

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