What does the future of the Women’s IPL look like?

What does the future of the Women’s IPL look like

The big change will be in the women’s sport ecosystem. How Women’s IPL auction could change sports in India. Check Out!

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People tend to think not as much about pure sporting excellence or cricketing records as they think of large swathes of money the moment one utters the term the “IPL!”

But whether it’s about big brands. Or whether one talks about the lucrative  commercial deals and major signings, the inaugural edition of the much anticipated  Women’s IPL ticked all the right boxes. 

Not only did the highly anticipated league about which one had begun to hear murmurs in the pre-Covid era feature some of the finest cricket we’ve seen in 2023. Rather remarkably, it marked a major new beginning for the growth of the women’s game in a country where Cricket is a religion in itself and not merely a cult or a festival. 

There was quintessential Australian excellence in the form of starry names such as Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry and company. 

Some of the finest timers in the contemporary fold of women’s cricket in the form of Laura Wolvaardt shone brightly even as the arrival of Da Vinci of the cover drive was at the back of the unfortunate injury sustained by another batting great Beth Mooney. 

The first ever edition of the WPL featured some of the youngest and most exciting talents from around the world such as Hayley Matthews, Sophie Ecclestone, Issy Wong and Yastika Bhatia, to name a few. 

Their participation in the sport’s most entertaining format actually made the Women’s IPL a level playing field in that the responsibility for producing outstanding results wasn’t merely restricted to the senior pros; the alacrity and fire of the youth raised the bar of the contests by several yards whilst shining in the company of experience. 

Though purely speaking from the perspective of the huge sums involved, who’d have thought that a day would arrive where a franchise would actually acquire a cricketer’s service for a season for a sum no fewer than 3.4 crores. 

At exactly that amount, the big-hitting Smriti Mandhana turned out to be the biggest signing yet in the first edition of the WPL; RCB reserving the duties of the capable left hander. 

That Mandhana didn’t particularly have a tournament to remember having wowed to bounce back stronger the next time around only makes the prospect of anticipating the second season rife with great interest and countless possibilities. 

But at the same time that greats of the modern game such as Meg Lanning produced a sublime touch in this maiden WPL edition, scoring plenty of fifties wherever the games were played entertaining the young and the old alike was indeed special and inspiring on equal count. 

But the true value of the Women’s IPL was also measured by the emotional and intellectual growth whose essence goes beyond calculators and budgets of the franchises. 

Take for example the invaluable and incalculable experience that someone like a Jemimah Rodriguez and Shafali Verma gathered by simply sharing the dressing room with a true great of the game in the “Mega star” Meg Lanning. 

Simply observing the Aussie great and on how she paces her innings may have given a few tricks to some of India’s finest talents; the kind of learning that goes beyond the coaching manual. 

But to talk of the collective impact of the maiden Women’s IPL, one would have to assess the impressive viewership that the now- famous tournament was able to collect. 

The fact that one of India’s go-to online streaming platforms broadcasted the series in not less than 12 languages just goes to show the length and breadth the cricket covered. 

The stadia didn’t feature empty seats anywhere and day night action featuring some of the finest and most enterprising names in the women’s game jointly raised the bar of a contest that began with great gusto, one whose best days are in the future. 

For this is just the beginning. 

Today, when foreign cricketing experts suggest that maybe with more marketing efforts and forthcoming editions, the Tata IPL’s reach and popularity may supersede that of the WBBL, you understand it as being a major victory for the women’s game and not just one party’s upmanship and victory at the end of a viewership tussle. 

Because whether the naysayers of women’s cricket like it or not; long gone are the days where the BCCI in India had to run empty seats and that too in midst of prime tournaments such as the ODI world cup of 2013, where despite sending around 10,000 invitations for the tournament opener (Mumbai), only a scant number turned up. 

How heartbreaking and defeating may that have felt?

But truth be told, the women’s game today is blossoming under a new sun, growing as we speak and experiencing a tsunami of fresh interest. The seats today, a decade from that period of ignominy, are running in packed capacity and the fan, it can be seen, is experiencing jaw dropping cricketing fiesta that may just put her and him off the edge with the way the WPL has begun.

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Cricket is a game played by 22 but opined by millions.Caught At Point will try to inform you and humour you on the game’s newsmakers, trends and, emerging patterns. Expect those deserving praise to be celebrated and expect tons of ‘arsehattery’ gifted to those who’ve earned it.I’ll cricket sincerely,Dev Tyagi

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