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IPL and WPL are a Win-win for the Game of Cricket
By Mahadev Desai

Cricket is the most popular spectator sport in India. The BCCI (The Board of Control for Cricket in India) founded the Men’s Indian Premier League (IPL), also known as the Tata IPL, in 2007. An annual auction is held in India and contested by ten city-based franchise teams, to choose team’s owners. And the teams then choose their players annually also through an auction. Each team can choose four non-Indian players from Australia, New Zealand, England, Africa; Caribbean; and South Asian countries.



The first edition was in 2008. The IPL has grown to be the most popular cricket league in the world. The ten teams are: Chennai Super Kings; Delhi Capitals; Gujarat Titans; Kolkata Knight Riders; Lucknow Super Giants; Mumbai Indians; Punjab Kings; Rajasthan Royals; Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Over 100,000 cricket fans attended the recent IPL 2023 Final between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, which was won by Chennai Super Kings by five wickets. The IPL is the second richest league in the world after U.S. A’s NFL (National Football League).

The women’s version of the Men’s IPL is also run by the BCCI. The Women’s Premier League is a women’s Twenty20 cricket franchise league in India. The league’s structure is similar to the Men’s IPL. The WPL presently has five teams: Delhi Capitals; Gujarat Giants; Mumbai Indians; Royal Challengers Bangalore and UP Warriorz. The number of franchises would be increased if WPL is successful. Each franchise can have six overseas players.The league’s first edition was in 2023. The matches were played in March 2023 and in the final, Mumbai Indians won against the Delhi Capitals by seven wickets. The next edition will be in 2024.WPL is the second most expensive league in the world after the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in the United States.

One of the heartening news for cricket in India was that the BCCI had in October 2022, announced about pay parity between men’s and women’s cricket, which would lead to male and female cricketers being paid the same per-match fees going forward.
Lauding the launch of WPL, West Indies team player congratulated the BCCI for promoting women’s cricket worldwide. Women’s cricket has been growing so fast and the boys are stating to realize that you can make a huge investment in the game if you want our’s to watch it grow’. Smriti Mandhana, is captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. In January 2022, ICC bestowed her with the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the year. Smriti enthused, “Today’s a day that every Indian women cricketer will remember. The WIPL is finally taking shape. Women’s cricket will go to the next level with this global stage provided. Come on girls, it’s all yours for the taking.”

India’s acclaimed player , Mithali Raj,Former Captain of India Women’s National Cricket Team,who has been conferred Arjuna Award 2013; the Padma Shri in 2015; Wisden’s Leading Woman Cricketer of the world 2017 and Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna 2021; commented, "Now is the time for girls to take up the sport as a profession because it is viable and there is money involved, and now it's not in obscurity - there is so much attached to women's cricket.There is fame and glory, and with social media, everything is amplified. Not many girls had a female role model in cricket until now."

Sports movies, documentaries, bill boards, social media and more can create role models who can inspire the future generation of cricketer players. There is no dearth of cricket talent in India. Aspiring and talented girl cricketers should be nurtured well by giving proper training facilities, coaching, cricket equipment, travel facilities, remuneration, playing with top players in India as well as abroad.so they can learn and improve their game and compete at the highest level.India Women’s team came close to winning the World Cup at the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup Final against England at Lords on 23rd July. It was a 50 overs match which India lost by mere nine runs! I World Cup win will do wonders for inspiring and motivating women cricketers in India.

The Men’s IPL and the WPL players can expect better financial rewards in future, because as per Houlihan Lokey, a global investment firm, the business enterprise value of the IPL is estimated at $15.4 billion, an increase of 80% over 2022 due to the impact of the media rights agreement with Viacom18 and Disney Star for 2023-2027. Sports fans now are increasingly shifting to digital platform like Viacom18 OTT platform Jio Cinema and Disney Star.

' Jul-10-2023