Indian women’s team white-ball skipper Harmanpreet Kaur thinks that participating in the upcoming Women’s IPL will be a huge achievement in her career.
The much-anticipated inaugural edition of the Women’s IPL is likely to get underway in March 2023. The general body of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) approved the conduct of the Women’s IPL in October 2022.
Women’s IPL is expected to be a five-team affair. The auction is scheduled to take place on January 25 and reports have suggested that eight out of the 10 existing men’s IPL teams will bid for a women’s team.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of India’s tri-series opener against South Africa on Thursday, Harmanpreet mentioned how the new women’s franchise tournament will provide a platform for players not just from India but across the globe.
“Many girls all over the world will play. Because the opportunity that the next generation will get that is something many old cricketers have missed.”
The Indian skipper further mentioned:
“Everyone is happy about this and we are waiting for it to start. Personally for me, it will be a big achievement to participate in that. There can be no bigger achievement for women’s cricket than this.”
On January 16, Viacom18 bagged the media rights for the Women’s IPL for a whopping sum of INR 951 crore for 2023-27 editions. This means that the per match value in WIPL costs INR 7.09 crore.
Speaking about the unexpected response from the broadcasting rights, the Indian skipper said:
“This is a big step and all women cricketers were waiting for this opportunity for a long time. And finally the time has come. The amount of response we are getting from everyone is outstanding. That was the reason we wanted to express our feelings on social media.”
“Don’t think there will be any difference between men and women cricket” – Harmanpreet Kaur
The key players from India are no strangers to playing franchise tournaments. Unlike the men’s tournament, women cricketers aren’t restricted from participating in overseas leagues.
In the 2021 Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), eight players from India participated in Australia’s franchise tournament. It was the highest number of representations by a nation that year in the WBBL.
Apart from Harmanpreet, the likes of Smriti MandhanaShafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma were part of the inaugural edition of Women’s Hundred in 2021.
Harmanpreet, who won the player of the tournament in WBBL 2021 while playing for the Melbourne Renegadessaid the launch of the Women’s IPL will put women’s cricket at the same level as their men’s counterparts.
“I think it is a great initiative taken by the BCCI and everyone is really working hard to promote women’s cricket. ICC is also doing so well. We all want to take women’s cricket one step ahead. Hereafter I don’t think women’s cricket will lag behind considerably. In the times to come, I don’t think there will be any difference between men and women cricket.”
Harmanpreet is currently in South Africa to play in the tri-nation series, also involving West Indies women’s team. India will take on the Proteas women in the first game on Thursday, January 19, at the Buffalo Park in East London.