Dubai: The Indian cricket board, which transformed the international cricket scenario with Indian Premier League (IPL), is now set to also create a women’s T20 league along the similar lines. As a prelude, they are staging a women’s IPL exhibition match on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium ahead of the IPL 2018’s first qualifier match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings.
Twenty-six players, including 10 international cricketers from Australia, England and New Zealand will play in this one-off match. The players have been divided into the ‘Trailblazers’, led by Smriti Mandhana, and ‘Supernovas’ captained by Harmanpreet Kaur.
Trailblazers are being coached by Tushar Arothe, who was the Indian women’s team coach in the World Cup, while Supernovas are coached by Biju George, who was the fielding coach of the Indian team last year and the coach of rising Indian star Sanju Samson.
Speaking to Gulf News from the Wankhede Stadium after Supernovas’ training session, George said: “It is a great initiative by the BCCI. I am sure this will be a start of and women’s cricket will soon boom in India.”
Australia’s captain Meg Lanning will play for Supernovas along with England’s Danielle Wyatt and Mithali Raj. Ellyse Perry of Australia, hailed as the one of the finest all-rounders, is also in the squad along with Veda Krishnamurthy. Taniya Bhatia is the wicketkeeper.
Trailblazers are made up of Australia wicketkeeper-batswoman Alyssa Healy and New Zealand’s star all-rounder Suzie Bates and India’s highest One Day International wicket-taker Jhulan Goswami.
Former Indian women’s team captain Diana Edulji, member of Committee of Administrators (CoA) that governs BCCI, said: “BCCI has been pulling out all stops to promote and nurture women’s cricket and this is a small yet significant step towards a prospective league involving women’s stars in the future.”
The T20 match will commence at 3.30pm UAE time and will be telecast live. Supernovas skipper Mandhana said: “It is very exciting for all of us to be playing this exhibition match and thankful to BCCI for organising such a unique match and it is a stepping show to the IPL. Hopefully, we will put up a good show and audience and BCCI people will think of having an IPL.”