At the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday (May 22), when Harmanpreet Kaur’s Supernovas take on the Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers in a one-off, “IPL-styled”T20 face-off, the game will lay down an early marker for something that has been brewing behind the scenes for women’s cricket in India for quite a while.
There are two different schools of thought on India’s league readiness. One: There isn’t enough talent to replicate an eight-team IPL for the women in the country. The other firmly believes that one of the major driving force for creating a league like this is to unearth talent, like the Jadejas, the Bumrahs and the Pandyas.
Australia, meanwhile, beat everyone to it with the Women’s Big Bash League, a tournament that found success in its inaugural season itself. The absence of the Indian stars was glaring, in the WBBL, as well as when England rolled out its first edition of the Women’s Super League.
This is absolute key if we want to see more female cricketers in India, seeing the sport as a career and really training hard to make it to big. In the WBBL, you always had the Australian players that were great players and worked hard. But now, younger players are motivated to make it to the Big Bash teams and be the best cricketers they can be. That just lifts the standards. So if that can happen in India, it would be massive for the women’s game,” New Zealand’s Suzie Bates said.
The board will have to ensure that the appeal and feasibility of the league are in sync for a major league to also be a financial success – a long-standing blemish in women cricket’s report card.
Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (C), Alyssa Healy (wk), Suzie Bates, Deepti Sharma, Beth Mooney, Jemimah Rodrigues, Danielle Hazell, Shikha Pandey, Lea Tahuhu, Jhulan Goswami, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Dayalan Hemalatha
Coach: Tushar Arothe
Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Danielle Wyatt, Mithali Raj, Meg Lanning, Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Pooja Vastrakar, Megan Schutt, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Anuja Patil, Taniya Bhatia (wk)
Coach: Biju George