I think there’s massive scope for a Women’s IPL: Leigh Kasperek
New Zealand off-spinner Leigh Kasperek has added her voice to the growing call for a Women’s IPL, saying there is “massive scope” for such a tournament to begin soon. The 29-year-old, who was the only Kiwi to be involved in the Women’s T20 Challenge in Sharjah last year, said she was impressed by the amount of talent in the Indian circuit.
As part of the Mithali Raj-led Velocity squad, Kasperek had the opportunity to interact with fellow international tweakers Ekta Bisht and Sune Luus, while also watching the likes of off-spinner Sushree Dibyadarshini, leg-spinner Devika Vaidya and left-arm spinner Anagha Murali from close quarters.
“There’s so much talent in India right now with young cricketers,” Kasperek said in an exclusive chat with Women’s CricZone. “I mean, look at the T20 squad that they recently put out against England. I don’t know what the average age was, but it must have been [in the] low 20s. But yeah, I think there’s massive scope for hopefully a women’s IPL in the future.”
Kasperek’s comments come on the back of several big names calling for a full-fledged tournament to be started for the Indian women. During the recently concluded The Hundred competition several commentators, including the likes of Nasser Hussain, Dinesh Karthik and Melanie Jones, spoke of the possibilities the such a tournament could open up for young girls and women in the country. Indian stars Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues have also expressed their desire to play in such a tournament.
“When we see the WBBL happening, then the KSL and now the Hundred, we are all like, when will we have our own IPL,” Rodrigues was recently quoted as saying by BBC. “It is going to make women’s cricket better. Imagine, the domestic girls here in England, the kind of experience they are having, sharing dressing rooms with international players. There is so much to learn.”
“Once they realise that OK, this is the standard, this is what I need to go out and do, they will want to work harder and work better. That’s very important in India because there is a lot of gap between the domestic and international side in India. In every street in India you see boys and girls playing cricket – there isn’t any shortage of future players! I think it’s high time we had an IPL.”
Echoing Rodrigues’ words, Kasperek, who played alongside the Indian batter for Yorkshire Diamonds in the 2019 Women’s Cricket Super League in England added: “They’re (overseas leagues) really helpful, and I think that’s why so many of the girls do them. You know, the (Women’s) Big Bash League draws all the big names. It’s just an opportunity to play with new people, learn from new coaches, learn from new players.”
“I think that was probably one of biggest things in the Women’s T20 Challenge as well – meeting people like Shikha Pandey who I previously hadn’t talked to and just learning how she goes about things. It was a wonderful experience.”
Full interview to be published on August 30