BCCI designates separate window for Women's IPL in March 2023

Many existing IPL franchises have shown interest in acquiring a Women's IPL franchise.

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Supernovas Team. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

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In a piece of good news for women’s cricket, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that the board has set aside a separate window for the first-ever Women’s IPL which is set to be held in March 2023, and preparations for the event are already underway. The board recently announced the latest schedule for the domestic tournaments, and the women’s calendar has been adjusted to fit in the Women’s IPL.

The season for women, which typically lasts from November to April, has been moved up by one month. The inter-zonal one-day competition will take place in February 2023, capping off the senior women’s season, which will now start on October 11 with the T20 competition. BCCI secretary Jay Shah had previously mentioned that the board had plans of conducting the Women’s IPL, and existing IPL franchises and stakeholders had shown interest too.

“I am thrilled at the kind of response we have got from stakeholders. Multiple existing IPL teams have enquired and expressed serious interest in owning WIPL franchises,” he had told earlier.

Barbados Royals and Rajasthan Royals’ owners had also publicly stated that they were interested in purchasing a WIPL franchise. The Knight Riders Group, which has teams in the CPL and the UAE’s ILT20 in addition to their IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, is currently in the middle of global integration in the men’s game. They also seem eager to participate in the WIPL.

Three teams, including the Knight Riders Group-owned Trinbago Knight Riders, will compete in the first-ever Women’s Caribbean Premier League, which will take place concurrently with the men’s competition later this year.

There are rumours that the current IPL franchises will be given the first option to purchase the teams, but they have not received an official response from the board. The BCCI’s annual general meeting in September is scheduled to cover topics pertaining to the WIPL. The sale of media rights will be a major focus of tournament preparation.

Women’s cricket in India has grown immensely this year

Following a string of successful performances by the Indian team in international competitions in recent times, the latest among which was their podium finish at the Commonwealth Games 2022 where they bagged the silver medal in Birmingham, interest in women’s cricket in India, and consequently the WIPL, is at an all-time high.

Senior players have spoken out in favour of the league, including the current captain and vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana respectively. Mithali Raj, a former captain of India, sparked interest in the tournament late last month when she revealed that she had kept the option of coming out of retirement open if given the opportunity to play at the Women’s IPL.