BCCI confirms WIPL and IPL 2020 for November in UAE
The Women’s T20 Challenge will take place between 1st and 10th November in the UAE after BCCI President Sourav Ganguly gave a go-ahead.
The format is based on a similar model to the round-robin one in 2019. The fixtures are yet to be finalised. In 2018 when the Women’s T20 Challenge was first envisioned, there was just a one-off game played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Last year, Jaipur’s Sawai Mansingh Stadium played host to 4 games involving 3 teams which was held during the playoff phase of the men’s IPL. There were talks of a 4th team being added to expand the competition but there’s no confirmation yet of the same.
In an official statement on the IPLT20 website, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah confirmed that the WIPL is indeed on for 2020.
South African cricketer Sune Luus and White Ferns all-rounder Sophie Devine have echoed Jemimah Rodrigues’ plea for a full-fledged WIPL , citing that it has the potential to transform the women’s game.
The Indian team is supposed to play a series against South Africa in October before heading out to the UAE. After the T20 Challenge, India is then scheduled to play West Indies.
It will be interesting to see how the Indian players adapt to training and camp as they haven’t played any professional cricket since the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final in March. Although they’re desperately short of match practise, players have had their individual sessions of training during the lockdown period.
Quarantine measures for the visiting players are likely to be set up by the UAE government, which effectively suggests that the players would need to arrive in the country no later than the third week of October.
Meanwhile, the new dates of the IPL and WIPL has resulted in an inevitable clash with the WBBL in Australia. The tournament is supposed to begin on 17th October and go on until 29th November. Indian stars such as Smriti Mandhana, T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues are contracted with WBBL franchises. Australia wicket-keeper batter Alyssa Healy clearly wasn’t happy with BCCI’s re-scheduling of the tournament.
She vented her frustration on Twitter:
During the conversation, Healy raised an important point of the WIPL needing the marquee international players more than the IPL does. She reasoned it by stating that just like how the BBL and WBBL don’t run simultaneously, the WIPL could have been organized in an alternative window to avoid the co-occurence.
However, veteran Indian players Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami both disagreed with her and came out in support of the BCCI. Jhulan said “I think as an Indian player and looking at the Indian women’s game the bcci doing this is hugely welcome. We need this for every woman who plays the game in India. These are tough times. Our game will suffer if the board doesn’t support us.”
The WBBL is undoubtedly the bigger tournament and whether the WIPL manages to attract overseas stars, still remains to be seen.
From an Indian perspective, whatever cricket they play this year would be welcome. The national side only had the two limited overs assignments against South Africa and West Indies in preparation for the World Cup. That has now changed with the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand now taking place in February-March of 2022.