Inaugural Women's IPL likely to be played in March 2023

The inaugural Women’s IPL could most possibly be played in March 2023, with a final call to be made at BCCI’s Annual General Meeting next month.
 
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“We are at the level of formulation to have a full-fledged WIPL.”

The wait for a Women’s Indian Premier League could well be over, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), having advanced the women’s domestic calendar in a full-fledged 2022-23 schedule released earlier this week.

The Women’s domestic season, which generally takes place between November and April, will begin on October 11 in the 2022-23 season, and conclude in February, with the March-April window being earmarked for the Women’s IPL.

The BCCI has been running the Women’s T20 Challenge on an annual basis since 2018, the year 2021 being an exception due to the covid-19 pandemic. Barring the first season, which featured a one-off exhibition game, the tournament developed into a three-team contest featuring Indian and foreign stalwarts.

However, there has been an increasing demand for a proper Women’s IPL tournament, with an aim to grow the women’s sport in the country. Recently, Harmanpreet Kaur, the India Women’s team captain, had expressed how the competition could be beneficial for the women’s game growth.

“I think women’s IPL can be a big turning point for us,” Kaur had said after India went down to Australia in a narrow nine-run defeat in the Gold medal clash at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.

“Our players do get opportunities to play overseas leagues. I feel domestic players will get a great platform in the women's IPL. We have talented women’s cricketers in the country but many of them don’t have the experience of the big stages. Women’s IPL will be a great platform for them.”

Mithali Raj, too, having recently announced her international retirement, is keen on a possible return to the field for the tournament.

"I'm keeping that option open," she said, while speaking on the ICC's 100% Cricket podcast. "I've not yet decided. There are a few more months to go before the Women's IPL happens. It would be lovely to be part of the first edition of the Women's IPL."

Earlier this year, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had confirmed that the governing body aims to host the first Women’s IPL in 2023.

"We are at the level of formulation to have a full-fledged WIPL. It is certainly going to happen," he had told the PTI earlier this year. "I strongly believe that next year i.e. 2023 will be a very good time to start a full-fledged women's IPL which will be as big and grand a success as men's IPL."

BCCI secretary Jay Shah too, had an encouraging update in May: "I am thrilled at the kind of response we have got from stakeholders. Multiple existing IPL teams have enquired and expressed serious interest in owning WIPL franchises."

A final call on the competition, is likely to be made at BCCI’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) next month.