The WPL has the backing of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the wake of the enormously successful Indian Premier League (IPL), the sport’s leading franchise competition.
“The Women’s Premier League is a huge development. Female cricketers in India will stick to the sport for a longer duration now, and it will only benefit Indian cricket in the longer run,” Mithali Raj, a former captain of India and mentor for the Gujarat Giants.
“The league will expand in the future and bring financial viability to the women’s game.”
The BCCI for several years resisted calls for a women’s T20 competition, citing a lack of interest from sponsors and broadcasters, but did stage a four-match Women’s T20 Challenge to run parallel with the IPL knockouts. Other countries, including Australia which has dominated women’s cricket and England, stole a march in terms of women’s franchise leagues.
But late last year, India’s powerful cricket administration finally acted after a financial research report revealed a considerable appetite for women’s T20 cricket and the WPL was born.
Five franchises in the inaugural tournament went up for auction in January and were collectively sold for $580m. Three existing men’s IPL teams – Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals – bought WPL franchises with home bases in Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi.
Two new franchises were established, with Adani Group and Capri Global buying the Gujarat Giants, based in Ahmedabad, and UP Warriorz to be based in Lucknow.
The three-week tournament will have 22 games, including 20 in the league stage and two knockouts, all to be played in Mumbai for the first season. It kicks off with Gujarat Giants against Mumbai Indians.
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