IPL has the capacity to be just as big in the women’s game: Ellyse Perry

IPL has the capacity to be just as big in the women’s game: Ellyse Perry

Ellyse Perry playing the IPL exhibition game. ©BCCI

After witnessing the success of six seasons of Women’s Big Bash League in Australia and the inaugural edition of The Hundred in England, Australia’s allrounder Ellyse Perry believes there is a ‘wonderful opportunity’ for cricket boards, particularly BCCI, to start a ‘full IPL for (the) women’. Perry, who was part of the first-ever IPL exhibition match held in 2018 in Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium, is hopeful that a full-fledged Women’s Indian Premier League is not too far off.

Speaking to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald ahead of the multi-format series against India, the veteran of Australian cricket shared her thoughts on the issue. “I actually think it is even more so an encouragement for other boards to seriously look at introducing professional women’s T20 competitions, particularly the BCCI and a full IPL for women,” Perry said.

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“Because there is a wonderful opportunity there, and it’s increasingly becoming a great commercial opportunity for cricket boards to bring in a women’s side of the competition. Not just from a spectacle or entertainment point of view, but also because growing the game in their country and getting more young girls playing cricket, and being involved is so important to the viability of the sport in the future.”

Cricket Australia introduced the WBBL in 2015, and it has helped players across the world including, a few players from India. This year, five Indian players got the opportunity to play in The Hundred, and they were amongst the top performers for their respective teams, but on the home turf, they have played only in a few exhibition matches. Perry believes it’s the right time to ‘pull the trigger’ and launch the competition.

“I know there’s been a lot of dabbling with it in terms of exhibition IPL matches for women. So, at some point, it’s about pulling the trigger and putting together a full competition, and hopefully, that’s not too far off. I’m sure the Indian girls would absolutely love that to be the case.”

The seventh season of WBBL will be played immediately after the multi-format series between India and Australia. With the potential unavailability of England players due to their international commitments, WBBL clubs are still looking for overseas players to fill the roster. Some of the Indian players are likely to play in the upcoming season. Perry hopes she will get an opportunity to be involved in the IPL-like competition in India.

“It’s been wonderful having a number of them playing in the WBBL over the last few years. At this stage, it’s looking like they’ll be involved again this year, so reciprocally it’d be wonderful to be involved in a competition over there. The IPL takes precedence in men’s cricket, and I think it’s got the capacity to be just as big in many ways in the women’s game,” she concluded.

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