Sourav Ganguly as the Board of Control for Cricket in India president will not back an Indian Premier League for Women unless there is a sufficient pool of domestic cricketers to make six to seven teams.
Facing the question on a franchise-based professional cricket league in India with a straight bat, Ganguly confessed that he did not see it happening for another four years.
Indian women cricket team today has its own global icons in seasoned pros in Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jhulan Goswami, Jamimah Rodrigues and a rising star as the 15-year-old Shafali Verma. Smriti, Harmapreet, and Jamimah have been regulars and impressive in Cricket Australia’s Women Big Bash League.
Regular broadcast of women’s cricket matches has resulted in a mass fan following for the Girls in Blues. While the national team and the leading women cricketers in India are making a mark in the cricket world, the poor state of women’s cricket at the State level was the main area of concern for Ganguly, who at present did not see a good enough pool of quality domestic players to create seven teams.
“You need to understand the practicality of it. You need a lot more women players. I see that in four years’ time, to get a seven-team IPL with the best women players (in participation),” Ganguly had told India Today.
According to Ganguly, India would need more than 150 quality women cricketers to start a seven-team league. Ironically, the pool of talent is currently restricted between 50 and 60.
“You have to let the State association teams get stronger, a lot of them are getting stronger. The push for women’s cricket has been enormous over the last few years. Three years down the line, when you have 150-160 players, you can take the IPL forward. Right now, we have 50-60 players. With the push BCCI has for women’s cricket, that will only increase,” Ganguly said.
Television exposure to the Indian national women cricket team has inspired a whole new generation of young girls to take to the sport. The emergence of the Shafali, who rose from Rohtak in Haryana to become the youngest international cricketer to score a half-century and eclipse Sachin Tendulkar’s record, is a testimony to the fact that gen-next of Indian female cricketers is getting ready for the big league.
It will take a little more time and the BCCI president has the vision and patience to not to launch a half-baked product.