Just a week remains before the four-match 2020 Women’s T20 Challenge commences in UAE from November 7. A lot of excitement is in the air that women’s cricket is finally seeing a big resumption, particularly following the Indian women’s cricket team run-up to the final of the T20 World Cup in March this year.
While the BCCI deserves credit for trying to take women’s cricket to prime time, there are questions about the manner in which this was done. The BCCI who were staring at a lot of possibilities surrounding this edition of Women’s IPL, however, missed encashing the opportunity with its big blunder of hosting the event while the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia will go on.
The Women’s T20 challenge, which started in 2018 gained traction for the star power and the big names it attracts. The inaugural season, saw names such as Alyssa Healy, Suzie Bates, Lea Tahuhu, Sophie Devine and Ellyse Perry fly down to India for a one-off game, while the 2019 edition had three teams, with four matches. This year, the scenario would completely be different. The big stars of the game like Healy, Perry, Devine, Laura Wolvaardt, Natalie Sciver, Katherine Brunt, Lizelle Lee, Meg Lanning and Beth Mooney miss out from the action because of their WBBL commitments. Besides, four Indians were expected to be part of WBBL will not be playing the Australian T20 League.
By creating a rift of interest between WIPL and WBBL, haphazardly making a schedule during the WBBL dates, the BCCI is hampering the status of women’s cricket. Unlike men’s cricket, there aren’t many T20 leagues or tournaments to look forward in women’s cricket. Had these two tournaments, co-existed in a better manner, with both of them seeing all its star powers, it could have been a win-win for both the T20 leagues.
Women’s cricket cannot be compromised on quality. When proposals came up to have the IPL without foreigners during uncertainty earlier this year, the franchises flagged it down, saying brand value will suffer. Then what was the logic of conducting amid WBBL schedule.