Over the past few years, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has faced significant criticism over its non-committal approach towards organizing a women’s Indian Premier League. On Thursday, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said that the four-match women’s T20 Challenge will take place in 2022 but remained tight-lipped on the prospect of a full-fledged league. Ganguly said that women’s IPL will take place “once the number of women players goes up.”
During a recent chat with Sportstar, Sourav Ganguly said, “The Women’s T20 Challenge will again be back this year in the month of May. Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to host a bigger women’s IPL once the number of women players [player pool] goes up. But this year, the Women’s T20 Challenge will happen during the IPL playoffs.”
Many Indian women cricketers including T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Deepti Sharma have called for the need for women’s IPL. In 2021, as many as eight India women’s players took part in the Big Bash League in Australia.
Following Ganguly’s comments, former England skipper, Michael Vaughan urged the BCCI President to make women’s IPL as his “top priority.” “A Womens #IPL should be top priority now @SGanguly99!! Let’s get it sorted ..” wrote Vaughan on his official Twitter profile.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) February 3, 2022
Calls for women’s IPL have grown ever since India reached the final of the 2017 ODI World Cup in England. The side had also finished runners-up in the T20 World Cup in 2020, where India finished at the top of their group after defeating Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. However, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side failed to register a win over the Aussies for the second time in the final.
The women’s T20 challenge – featuring three teams – is usually played during the playoff window of the men’s IPL. The last year’s edition of the tournament eventually got canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic – however, a significant number of Indian women players took part in The Hundred and the BBL.