Will The Women’s IPL Change The Course Of The Game?
The biggest turning point of the women’s game, it is often said, was the successful completion of the ICC Women’s ODI World Cup of 2017. A tournament of great thrills and upsets, mega results and massive heartbreaks, the women’s World Cup did launch a crusade of new interest in a sport that perhaps even today remains heavily skewed to the menfolk.
But truly speaking, if there was a singular image that essentially captured the much-talked-about series, then it was that of India’s Harmanpreet Kaur raising her bat to acknowledge the crowds for what was a well-deserved century against the mighty Aussies.
When Harmanpreet Kaur stroked a mega hundred; an unbeaten 171, she didn’t just strike a fine century, she took women’s cricket to the top gear. To its highest flight!
But that was the first revolution so to speak.
The next is here and now! And it’s called the Women’s IPL.
In a sport that’s intricately become about T20 cricket, it’s quite relevant and timely that after all these years of talking and ideating, we are going to have the Women’s IPL.
2023 is that year- what relief and godspeed!
Though it took quite a few months of general chatter and if not, then mindless babble regarding plans to usher in a new wave for women’s cricket, it appears that the biggest turning point in the women’s game is here thanks to the conception of the Women’s IPL.
In an age where cricket is combining the sporting element and the entertainment quotient, it’s believed that the Women’s IPL will lead to all or any of the following:
Forwarding the cause that’s Women’s Cricket
Women’s cricket has truly come a long way. The boundaries don’t need to be shorter, as alleged by some chauvinist non-believers in the women’s game; for women are powerhitters. Think- Lizelle Lee, Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur or Hayley Matthews.
Women are excellent fielders; any doubts whatsoever about their exceptional or agilitic abilities can be brushed aside by simply seeing some footages from the ICC ODI Women’s World Cup.
That a world cup was held for women even before it took place for the malefolk is just one of the confirmations of just how forward reaching the sport in the women’s ebb is. By that count, the Women’s IPL, one can say, wil serve as an excellent advertisement for Cricket. And with much confidence, one notes that the sport will have etched a bold new chapter with this 20-20 league whose biggest winner would be the great game of Cricket by the end of it all.
With talents like Smriti Mandhana, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Dane van Niekerk, Sophie Devine, it’s a matter of time before the Women’s IPL leaves a successful imprint over the landscape of international competitive sport.
Inroads for Newer talent
Take the men’s IPL, for instance. Surely, the Indian cricket establishment knew of a Suryakumar Yadav, but well and truly speaking, would he have reached the national set-up had it not been for the men’s IPL and his subsequent selection in the Mumbai Indians franchise?
The Women’s IPL is expected to put forth new faces around different regions of India into the limelight; those that may never previously have dreamt of participating in a franchise-based T20 league the world is so keen to observe.
A Richa Ghosh, for instance, who’s truly coming into her own and has proven her credentials as a handy lower order hitter instead of being just a standard keeper would look at the Women’s IPL as a gamechanger of sorts.
Wider recognition around the world
Think talents like Kiran Navgire, the big-hitting burly-built Solapur-born cricketer, who was once participating in several athletic contests before cricket happened to her.
Honestly speaking, would this daughter of a farmer have thought of reaching a stage where today she can aspire to participate in what is, arguably speaking, the biggest platform in Women’s cricket besides the premier events such as the World Cup?
The very Andrew Symonds-like hitter of the white ball, who’s known for her six-hitting exploits would like to own the Women’s IPL stage alongside talents like Chloe Tryon and Meg Lanning and the likes.
Jess Jonassen on the Women’s IPL
Having said all of that, here are some telling albeit keen observations made by a true star of contemporary women’s cricket- Jess Jonassen, who had nothing but fine positives to say about the Women’s IPL:
“The introduction of the Women’s IPL is going to change the landscape of women’s cricket globally forever. If the Women’s IPL can kick off anywhere near what the men’s IPL is then it is going to change a lot of female cricketers’ lives. It puts the game on the map even more. There is a genuine pathway domestically starting to shine through. If girls can continue to see where cricket can take them, the levels it can take them and the experiences they can gain out of that … then I am all for it. To potentially be part of the first one would be incredibly special so I will put my hat in the ring.”
With no fewer than six teams all set for the first instalment of the Women’s IPL, it ought to be said, could well be a six-hitting fiesta and one that’ll hopefully hit the critics and nonbelievers in the power of women’s game out of the park- and perhaps for the good!