Is the time ripe to launch IPL-W? India’s dashing Harmanpreet Kaur, West Indies’s Stafanie Taylor and Australia’s Meg Lanning have not lost time to score top class centuries and given food for thought for the administrators to seriously consider starting an attractive Twenty20 league on the lines of the IPL that has been highly successful for the last five years.

The 10th women’s World Cup has caught the imagination of some noted cricketers and if one goes by the comments of Sanjay Manjrekar at the post-match presentation of the matches played at the Cricket Club of India, Stafanie, Deandra Dottin and Harmanpreet have done enough to take the game forward by leaps and bounds.

Apart from Harmanpreet, Stafanie, Dottin and Meg, there are several more like Mithali Raj, Thirush Kamini, Jhulan Goswami, England’s Charlotte Edwards, Sarah Taylor, Heather Knight and Kathrine Brunt, Australia’s Lisa Sthalekar, Ellyse Perry and Rachael Louise Haynes, Sri Lanka’s Chamari Atapattu, Eshani Kaushalya Lokusooriya, Shashikala Siriwardene, Yasoda Mendis and Deepika Rasangika New Zealand’s Suzie Bates, Sian Ruck and Sophie Devine, South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp, who have done their bit to catch the attention in the ongoing World Cup. Stafanie, Harmanpreet, Thirush Kamini, Lanning, Bates, Devine, Kapp, Charlottee and Mithali have scored centuries.

Women’s cricket received a big boost in 2009 with the 50-over World Cup staged under the ICC banner for the first time in England and also the ICC Twenty20 being held together for men and women in England.

Observers say that women’s cricket has got better with a single body running the sport in the full member countries of the ICC.

“A lot has improved. We have access to the best facilities and academies,” said India captain Mithali before the start of the World Cup.

Richardson's views

The observations by David Richardson, Executive, ICC, also strengthens the case for franchise based Twenty20 to fast-track women’s cricket.

“I think one of the reasons we wanted to hold the ICC women’s World Cup in India was because of the potential that exists here for the women’s game. I think a lot of women support and watch cricket in India but they don’t necessarily play and so this is a marvellous opportunity for us to advertise the women’s game. Already the matches show that these cricketers are serious players and they deserve to be taken seriously. They are also wonderful role models for young girls and should be an inspiration for many to take up the game.

“The ICC’s Strategic Plan 2011-2015 outlines the desire to increase female player participation to one million. We currently have around 680,000 at the moment and that demonstrates we still have a long way to go but India is where a lot of the potential lies.

“I am sure as time goes on and the tournament gains more momentum we will have more people watching the games — entry is, of course, free — and those crowds will leave inspired to take up this great game,” said Richardson.

Just the time for the BCCI and IPL Governing Council to mull over; perhaps also for Nita Ambani (Mumbai Indians), Shilpa Shetty (Rajasthan Royals), Preity Zinta (Kings XI Punjab) and Juhi Chawla (Kolkata Knight Riders).

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