India Women’s star opener Smriti Mandhana admitted that women's cricket has grown a lot since the 2017 World Cup but there is still a huge gap between the international and domestic circuit in India and Women’s IPL could play a wonderful role in taking the game to the next level in the country.
The "Women in Blue" have shown their credibility over the years, making their second Women’s World Cup final in 2017 while they entered the T20 World Cup final in Australia this year.
However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been making all efforts to strengthen women’s cricket in India, organizing women’s T20 matches during the IPL for two years now.
Well, Mandhana acknowledged the efforts the BCCI is putting in to make Women’s IPL a reality, but she feels the time has now come for a five-six team women’s IPL, as the opener believes that a full-fledged can make a difference and help the women’s team do well at the global level.
Mandhana said on the BBC podcast ‘The Doosra’: “Women's cricket in Indian is growing massively, especially the domestic circuit. But there's still a lot of gap between competition between international and domestic circuit which I think will be bridged in 2-3 years.”
The 23-year-old added, “The BCCI has put in a lot of effort, first we had an exhibition match kind of women's IPL two years ago then there was a very successful IPL with three teams. And this year it was supposed to be four teams. I'm sure a lot of IPL style matches will take place for a year or two. A five or six-team IPL for women will be great for Indian women's cricket especially for the World Cups.”
Meanwhile, she also recalled an anecdote shared with Indian men’s team skipper Virat Kohli, adding: “I spoke to Virat in New Zealand last year. Both of us had got the ICC award he said ‘Your team can do something in India that the men’s team can’t.”
She further added, “That is change the culture of women in India and that you all as the team have a big role to play in the future. Whenever you feel like a gym session think that you can inspire a generation of women to take up sports.’”
On the other hand, WV Raman said India women have the potential to become the best team in three years and Mandhana said “We’ve grown a lot as a team especially after the 2017 WC. T20 format is not one of our strengths before but we have done reasonably well in the last two World Cups.”
She signed off by saying, “Not just this one in Australia, but the one we played in the West Indies was a very good World Cup, unfortunately, we lost to England. What Raman sir said will happen. But I can’t say in how many years maybe next year or in 3-4 years or 5 years but I’m certain it will happen.”
(With PTI Inputs)