The Indian Premier League, with a halo of glamour and thrill surrounding it, has grown exponentially over the years. Over two months of pure entertainment is nothing less than a treat for cricket lovers. Apart from the breathtaking gameplay which is infused with drama and excitement, the IPL has also unearthed raw talents. These young buds have utilised these opportunities, with some of them fast-tracking their way into the national team.
The proved success of the league leads us to several questions which have also been doing rounds: ” When is the right time to organise a league on the same line for women cricketers?” and “What is the need for a Women’s IPL?”.
The Women’s T20 Challenge can be considered as a precursor to a full-fledged league. However, when will the BCCI consider that the time is ripe enough for a proper tournament, which is certainly a wish of every female Indian player?
If organised with a far-sighted approach, an IPL tournament for women’s cricket could do wonders for the future of the women’s game in India. Rubbing shoulders with established cricketers from all around the world will enhance the skills of young talents in the country. Sharing the dressing room with the likes of Ellyse Perry, Heather Knight, Suzie Bates and many others will be once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many young girls who aspire to play for India.
Young players who have already earned the Indian cap, such as Pooja Vastrakar, Richa Ghosh, Shafali Verma and Jemimah Rodrigues stand to learn plenty from the experiences of these international cricketers. It will not only help aid them to hone their skills but also enhance their match-reading abilities. They will learn ways to react to various match situations.
The Indian women’s cricket team has succumbed to big-match pressure in the last two ICC tournaments. The 2017 World Cup final saw the team choke under pressure after being in a formidable position for the most part of their chase. The nerves got to the players again in the finals of the T20 World Cup in 2020 too.
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Alyssa Healy had offered a simple catch in the very first over when she was batting on 9, but she got a new life and made India pay for their mistake. She destroyed the Indian bowling attack with a flurry of boundaries and sixes and 39-ball 75 sucked the life out of the Indian team’s confidence and the match was more or less over at the halfway stage.
The pressure of the big occasion has got the better of the players on several occasions. They will learn to hold their nerves only through experience and an IPL will provide the platform to garner that required experience. The IPL will certainly help in grooming the players, and the result will certainly show in their performances in such high-pressure situations. Also, with every match getting telecasted, it will provide much-needed exposure to the players and help in the overall development of the women’s game in the country.
The BCCI should look into this matter and organise a women’s IPL as early as possible for the prosperity of the women’s game in the country. The pandemic situation has struck a blow to all sporting activities and a sense of uncertainty prevails, especially with respect to women’s cricket. The BCCI should provide assurance to the women cricketers and for the time being, go ahead with the T20 Challenge as the previous two years.