Speaking in a panel discussion at The Sports Law & Policy Symposium 2021 on women’s cricket and gender issues in sport, Karim said that the BCCI should create a structure for the WIPL, from which many cricketers would get opportunities.
“I don’t see any roadblock for a women’s IPL. Eventually, we should look to have a full-fledged women’s IPL. The best way is to have simple and state contracts in place first."
Karim, who had worked as General Manager of Game Development at the BCCI, put forth Andhra Cricket Association's policy as an example for other states to adopt.
The Southern state has won the Under-19 state tournaments twice, finished second in the senior-level competitions twice and once in the U-19 domestic T20 Tournament. All the achievements happened on the back of the infrastructure built by the association.
Srinivas Reddy, a women’s coach at the ACA, said that the investments were initiated by Narendranath - a passionate administrator who owns a college. He provided the ground and the necessary facilities for the women cricketers to train.
“We sent women coordinators to rural schools; summer camps were set up in all 13 districts. I was there, but we needed a woman. So, we brought in former India coach Purnima Rau, and we travelled for two years. In 2010, an exclusive women’s residential academy was set up."
Another former BCCI General Manager of Game Development, Ratnakar Shetty, spoke in detail about the significance of the Under-16 competition. He said that the men’s team is doing well because of the investment in the domestic level tournaments, adding, "such investment must be made in women’s cricket too. Identification, promotion and support are what is to be provided.”
He further said that the state associations could do a lot more for the women if they had the intentions. "Financially, the state associations are strong. Money is not the problem. It is the will. Well established associations are doing it on their own. BCCI should allow former cricketers to do their bit. In some states, systems are already in place, and girls are coming up on their own.”
“The associations should realise women’s cricket is as important as men’s cricket. Make women feel there is a lot of scope for women’s cricket,” he concluded.