Mithali Raj urges BCCI to start women’s IPL from 2021

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Mumbai: BCCI should not “wait forever” to start the women’s IPL, said India women’s ODI captain Mithali Raj,urging the board to make it happen next year on a smaller scale before gradually developing it.

“I personally feel they should start a women’s IPL by next year, even if it’s on a slightly smaller scale and with some changes in rules, such as, say, have five to six foreign players in the first edition instead of four as is the case with the men’s IPL,” Mithali said.

This year, the BCCI had decided to organise a four-team women’s T20 challenge to run parallel to the men’s IPL playoffs, but now it has been put on hold along with the main event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

India don’t have enough women cricketers for a full-fledged IPL but Raj said it can still be conducted if existing IPL franchises own teams to begin the process.

“I agree we don’t have the depth in the domestic pool yet, but the key is to get the existing franchises to form teams, even if (only) five or six of them are keen to begin the process because in any case, the BCCI was going to have four teams,” she said.

“You cannot wait forever; you have to begin at some point, and gradually, year by year, you can keep evolving the league and then bring it down to four foreign players.”

Mithali Raj also said that teen sensation Shafali Vermawho impressed with the bat in the T20 World Cup, should be included in the ODIs too.

“It’s not a bad idea to consider her for the ODIs. She is young but that should not be a criterion for not giving her opportunities in the ODI side,” she said.

Mithali is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to surpass the 6,000 run mark in WODIs. In June 2018 during the 2018 Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup, she became the first player from India to score 2000 runs in T20Is, and also became the first woman cricketer to reach 2002 WT20I runs.

In September 2019, she announced her retirement from T20Is to focus on ODI cricket. The former captain Mithali Raj became the first woman to complete 20 years in international cricket.

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