Punam Raut bats for six-team WIPL

Punam Raut © Getty Images

India’s opener Punam Raut has said that there is a case for six-team Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL), so that more players get the opportunity to showcase their talent. The current “Women’s T20 Challenge” has expanded from two teams in the inaugural season to three teams with four exhibition matches, but Raut believes more teams need to be part of WIPL for improvement of the game.

“I am not talking about three teams, I feel there should be at least six teams in the women’s IPL so that more and more players could get the opportunities through games,” Punam Raut was quoted as saying by ANI.

Raut, who has represented India for 112 internationals, including 35 T20Is, said the televised games will also make players competitive as they will share the stage with international players.

“Obviously, when we get opportunities to play with international players it increases the excitement of players to play the game and improve further in the game,” the 32-year-old added.

“Only 15-20 get a chance to play for India, but there are talented players who can compete at the international level. There can be two teams in Indian Railways itself, such as the talent here, but since in India only 20 or 15 can play, many talented cricketers miss out on chances.”

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According to ESPNCricinfo, the 2020 edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge logged 5.34 billion minutes in viewership in India, which was a 2.45-times rise from the 2.20 billion minutes the 2019 edition recorded. Raut, who represented Trailblazers in the last T20 Challange, said broadcasted matches can help players gain much-needed recognition.

“If players get to play in a women’s IPL and the moreover games get telecasted, it further increases the chances of players getting the recognition,” she said.

Raut, who recently featured in India’s first-ever pink-ball Test against Australia also talked about her decision to walk off during the first innings of that Test. She walked off after a caught behind appeal was declined by the umpires. Raut said the decision was based on her instincts.

“It happened instinctively. It had never happened to me like this before that umpire gave not out and I had walked out. I thought that the umpire will give out, but he gave ‘not out’. It was clear nick, so I thought that I should leave the crease hence I walked off,” she explained.

“Nobody was happy with my decision in the team. No team will like to lose the wicket of a set batter, so everyone’s reaction for me was on the negative side but I can understand their point too. I just told my teammates, ‘it was out so I left my crease’.”

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