The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to introduce the Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) from next year.
In its circular sent before its annual general body meeting to be held in Mumbai on October 18, the BCCI said with the rise in popularity of women’s cricket in the country – mainly due to prominent performances by the Indian Senior Cricket team on the world stage by qualifying for semi-finals in 2018 T20 World Cup and finals in 2020 T20 World Cup and securing silver medal in the recently held Commonwealth Games – the board now intends to conduct the Women’s IPL on similar lines of the Indian Premier League.
League Stage topped ✅
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) October 13, 2022
The Indian team most recently made a brave march into the finals of the Commonwealth Games T20 tournament, defeating England along the way, and attracted full-houses at Edgbaston. They eventually lost to Australia, but remained one of the most popular teams in the competition with Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and pacer Renuka Singh getting the crowds to root for the team.
The board felt that the other factors helping in the popularity of women’s cricket were three successful editions of Women’s T20 Challenge by BCCI and the participation of Indian players in WBBL and The Hundred.
In a circular accessed by The Indian Express, the Indian board has decided to have five teams for this WIPL.
“To have a good balance of domestic & international players and to have competitive teams, it has been tentatively decided to have five teams for WIPL. Each team can comprise maximum of eighteen players where no team can have more than six overseas players. Further, no more than five overseas players – four from Full Members of the ICC and one from the Associate Members of the ICC – can be part of the playing XI of each team,” the notice reads.
Non IPL venues an option
The BCCI has thrown open two options of selling the team in WIPL.
“Non IPL Venues: Unlike IPL where teams represent a particular city, in WIPL teams can be sold zone wise and matches to take place at non-IPL venues,” the circular reads.
The notice further adds, “Each team to play with the other twice during the season. Team finishing at the top of the table after the end of league matches will directly go into the finals, while team finishing second and third will play the eliminator after the end of the regular season. Winner of eliminator will qualify for finals.”
There will be 22 games played in WIPL which comprises of 20 league games, one eliminator followed by the final.
The BCCI is eyeing a March window post ICC Women’s T20 World 2023 which is scheduled to be held in South Africa from February 9-26.
“Like IPL, it will be a challenge to play in home-away format in WIPL, as with five to six teams it is not possible to have a match every day. It is suggested that the tournament can be played in caravan style where after finishing ten matches at one venue, next ten matches to be played at next venue. Therefore, ten matches each to be played across two venues in 2023 WIPL season, ten each in the next two venues in 2024 season and for 2025 season, ten matches in remaining one venue and remaining ten in one of the venues from 2023 season,” the circular concludes.