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‘Cannot wait forever’ – Mithali Raj wants women’s IPL from 2021

Mithali Raj, Indian Women’s ODI captain, believes the BCCI shouldn’t “wait forever” to organise the women’s IPL, and wants the inaugural match to be held in 2021. Raj, at the moment essentially the most skilled participant in women’s cricket, stated that the women’s IPL might initially be on a “smaller scale”.

“I personally feel they should start a women’s IPL by next year, even if it’s on a slightly smaller scale and with some changes in rules, such as, say, have five to six foreign players in the first edition instead of four as is the case with the men’s IPL,” Raj advised ESPNcricinfo in an in depth chat.

Raj is the second formidable voice in Indian cricket to induce the BCCI to begin the women’s IPL quickly. Soon after India misplaced to Australia within the ultimate of the Women’s T20 World Cup final month, Sunil Gavaskar had said it made “sense” to begin the women’s IPL as a result of that might solely “earn” extra younger expertise that might make India Women win world titles.

The BCCI acknowledged the rising recognition of women’s T20Is and had scheduled to have a 4-crew contest on this 12 months’s Women’s T20 Challenge with seven matches in comparison with final 12 months’s 4. These had been to run parallel to the boys’s IPL playoffs, however the match has now been placed on maintain as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. However, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had stated {that a} full-fledged women’s IPL was at the least “four years away” when he took cost final October, primarily as a result of India’s expertise pool was skinny.

Raj agreed with Ganguly however like Gavaskar, she believed {that a} women’s IPL would solely enhance the numbers. She additionally prompt a few of the current IPL franchises might personal groups to facilitate the women’s match. “I agree we do not have the depth within the home pool but, however the bottom line is to get the present franchises to type groups, even when [only] 5 or 6 of them are eager to start the method as a result of in any case, the BCCI was going to have 4 groups [in the Women’s T20 Challenge].

“You cannot wait forever; you have to begin at some point, and gradually, year by year, you can keep evolving the league and then bring it down to four foreign players.”

To emphasise her level, Raj gave the instance of 16-year-previous sensation Shafali Verma, who was one of the spectacular batters within the latest T20 World Cup. Raj had led Verma at Velocity in final 12 months’s Women’s T20 Challenge which the Haryana teenager used as a springboard to get the India cap in September later in 2019.

Raj stated Verma was the “biggest takeaway” for India from the T20 World Cup and deserved an opportunity in ODIs too. “It’s not a bad idea to consider her for the ODIs. She is young but that should not be a criterion for not giving her opportunities in the ODI side.”

“Appalled at such news” – on sexual harassment allegations towards Atul Bedade

Among the varied subjects Raj spoke about in the course of the interview, she additionally weighed in on the sexual harassment allegations towards former India batsman Atul Bedade, who was lately suspended as head coach of Baroda Women.

“It’s too early for me or anyone to comment on the matter or come to a conclusion until the truth is established,” Raj stated. “It would not be right on my part or anyone else’s to judge someone based on an article, but as a woman athlete, I am surprised and appalled at such news emerging because when there’s so much progress taking place in cricket and other sports in terms of empowering women, when the administrators, the athletes, many of you in the media – we all are trying to get women’s sports up to a level, these things make you wonder ‘what is happening?'”

The full interview will likely be printed on The Cricket Monthly on March 27.

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