BCCI set to launch five-team women’s IPL in March 2023
By SMCS - Oct 13, 2022 5:17 pm
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The long-awaited women’s IPL is set to take place next year with the BCCI planning a five-team tournament for March 2023, soon after the Women’s T20 World Cup ends in South Africa on February 26 as well. The plan involves a total of 22 matches, with each squad comprising 18 players with a maximum of six from overseas as well. No more than five overseas players can be there in a playing XI, with four from Full Member countries and one from an Associate nation as well.

women's IPL
Women’s exhibition T20 match

As per the plan, which has been seen by ESPNcricinfo, each team will play the others twice during the league phase (20 matches), with the league topper reaching the final. The second finalist will be decided by an Eliminator between the second and third-ranked teams from the league phase as well. However, the schedule of the WIPL is yet to be decided, but it will be wrapped up before the men’s IPL begins, which is likely to be at the end of March as well.

“It will be a challenge to play the WIPL in the home and away format, because with five to six teams it is not possible to have a match every day,” the BCCI said. “It is suggested that the tournament can be played in caravan style, where after finishing ten matches at one venue, the next ten matches to be played at the next venue. Therefore, ten matches each to be played across two venues in the 2023 WIPL season, ten each in the next two venues in the 2024 season, and for the 2025 season ten matches in the remaining one venue and the remaining ten in one of the venues from 2023 season.”

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Unlike the Women’s T20 challenge, the BCCI will sell the five franchises. However, unlike the men’s IPL, where franchises bid for teams in a particular city, the BCCI has two plans for the WIPL. The first one is based on six zones spanning the country, like – Dharamsala/Jammu (North zone), Pune/Rajkot (West), Indore/Nagpur/Raipur (Central), Ranchi/Cuttack (East), Kochi/Visakhapatnam (South) and Guwahati (North-East). On the other hand, the second plan involves teams from six shortlisted IPL venues: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. The BCCI will present the WIPL plan at the AGM next week but a final decision will be taken by the IPL Governing Council chairman – who that is will be decided at the upcoming AGM – along with the BCCI office bearers.

women's ipl
Indian players are excited for the women’s IPL

“With the rise in popularity of women’s cricket in the country mainly due to prominent performances by the Indian Senior Cricket team on world stage by qualifying for semi-finals in 2018 T20 World Cup, finals in 2020 T20 World Cup, securing silver medal in recently held 2022 Commonwealth games in Birmingham, we intend to conduct the Women’s IPL on similar lines with the Indian Premier League,” the BCCI said in its paper on WIPL.

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The WIPL – and the proposed WPSL – will join the FairBreak Invitational, the Women’s Hundred, WCPL and WBBL as T20 leagues that help the popularity and growth of women’s cricket globally. The WIPL paper also added that the BCCI had studied both the WBBL and the Women’s Hundred models before finalising its plan for WIPL as well.