India Women's ODI captain Mithali Raj has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to fast-track its plans for the Women's IPL and hold its first edition in 2021 itself. The BCCI had been focusing on women's cricket with the last two seasons of the IPL in the form of a mini Women's IPL through the Women's T20 Challenge. The India Women's cricket team recently missed out on winning the Women's T20 World Cup in Australia, losing the final to the host nation at the MCG in Melbourne.
Many experts had called for a Women's IPL after India Women lost an under-pressure final against the Australian team in the recently held ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020. Indian cricket great Sunil Gavaskar had also called for a Women's IPL as it would inflate India's pool of woman talent. Talking to a popular cricket portal, veteran female cricketer Mithali Raj has now expressed how the BCCI should fast-track its plans by starting out on a small scale but gradually expanding in the years to come. This is a view which was somewhat echoed by Indian cricket analyst and former player Sanjay Manjrekar, who suggested to play with 4 teams in its debut season.
Raj suggested that the BCCI could start the tournament on a smaller scale with only 5-6 teams. Foreigner rules could also be altered to allow more foreign talent initially. Raj expressed how last year's Women's T20 Challenge helped her discover Shafali Verma, who turned out to be a hero for the Indian team in Australia. Mithali Raj understands that the domestic pool lacks talent as of now but the ODI captain believes that the game can continue to grow through the Women's IPL.
The IPL was supposed to be held from March 29 but the coronavirus outbreak led to the BCCI having the IPL 2020 postponed to a date beyond April 15. The Women's T20 Challenge was also being expanded to four teams and would be running during the IPL playoffs. The BCCI will now take its call on the future of these tournaments after it observes the status of COVID-19 in India.