Sat, 13 Aug 2022 11:05 AM IST
Amid the growing clamour to hold Women's Indian Premier League (WIPL), the BCCI has reportedly decided to organise the inaugural edition of the much-awaited WIPL in March next year. According to a senior BCCI official, the inaugural WIPL will be held in March 2023 in a one-month window and in all likelihood with five teams competing against each other.
According to a report by news agency PTI, BCCI officials, after lengthy discussions, have found a March window for the Women's IPL after the Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa, slated to be held in February next year. A lot of cricket lovers believe that WIPL will bring in a revolution and the standard of women's cricket in India will have a quantum leap.
"Yes, the WIPL will start in the first week of March and we have earmarked a four-week window for the first year", PTI quoted a BCCI official as saying on conditions of anonymity. "The T20 World Cup in South Africa is from February 9 to 26 and immediately after that we plan to hold the WIPL," the official added.
"As of now, we are going ahead with five teams but it could be six as there is a lot of interest among potential investors. In due course of time, the process of auctioning of teams will be announced," he further said.
This came after both BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah had earlier confirmed that 2023 is the year when WIPL would start. "I am thrilled at the kind of response we have got from the stakeholders. Multiple existing IPL teams have enquired and expressed serious interest in owning WIPL franchises," Shah had said, as quoted by PTI.
Earlier in February this year, Ganguly had stated that the women's IPL would be held next year. "We are at the level of formulation to have a full-fledged WIPL. It is certainly going to happen. I strongly believe that next year i.e. 2023 will be a very good time to start a full-fledged women's IPL which will be as big and grand a success as men's IPL."
It is understood that teams like Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings have all expressed their interest in buying teams. Even UTV big boss Ronnie Screwvala had tweeted that he would be interested in buying a WIPL franchise.
BCCI is expected to hold a discussion on matters related to women's IPL at its annual general meeting in September this year. Much of the planning around the tournament will be around the sale of its media rights.
Due to India's improving and great performances at major ICC events over the recent years, the enthusiasm for women's cricket in India is at a never-seen-before high. The latest of these performances was the Women in Blue clinching a silver medal in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.
Moreover, senior Indian players like Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and former Indian skipper Mithali Raj have been supportive of the idea of women's IPL. Raj in fact expressed a desire to come out of retirement to participate in the tournament.
(With Agencies Inputs)