Ganguly: BCCI ‘at the level of formulation’ to launch women’s IPL in 2023

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BCCI president expects the tournament to be “as big and grand a success as men’s IPL”

The BCCI is at the final stages of planning for a Women’s IPL, according to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, who has said he strongly believes that the tournament should take off in 2023.

“We are at the level of formulation to have a full-fledged WIPL. It is certainly going to happen,” Ganguly told PTI on Friday. “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.”

After India finished runners-up to England in the 2017 ODI World Cup, and then second-best to Australia at the T20 World Cup in 2020, the women’s game in the country has cornered a lot more attention than it had previously.

But despite prominent voices asking for a T20 league for women in India along the lines of the WBBL or the now-defunct Kia Super League (the women’s Hundred has taken its place), the BCCI has opted not to go ahead, so far, choosing instead to only host a three-team Women’s T20 Challenge alongside the playoffs of the men’s IPL. This started in 2018 as a two-team event, with one exhibition match, and expanded to a three-team affair in 2019 and 2020, but was scrapped in 2021, even though the men’s tournament took place (in two parts because of the Covid-19 situation).

The BCCI’s argument against the Women’s IPL has been that Indian cricket doesn’t possess the sort of depth in its domestic circuit that is required for the tournament to be worthwhile. In 2019, Ganguly had, in fact, suggested that a seven-team women’s IPL could well come to fruition in 2023, when he had said, “You need a lot more women players. I see that in four years’ time, to get a seven-team IPL with the best women players [in participation].”

As such, there are approximately 1100 registered women’s players in India, and around 40 players who have either already played for India or are on the fringes of selection.

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