Inaugural Women's IPL to commence on March 3: Reports
The inaugural edition of the Women's Indian Premier League (WIPL) is likely to get underway on March 3, 2023, reported ESPNcricinfo. While the women's competition would conclude on March 26, IPL 2023 (men's event) will reportedly commence on April 1. With the international calendar being jam-packed, BCCI faces a significant challenge to conduct the two prominent events successfully. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
- WIPL will commence a week after the 2023 ICC Women's T20 World Cup final, which is scheduled to be played on February 26 in Cape Town.
- While BCCI is yet to finalize the dates, they have reportedly earmarked a window for the women's tournament.
- As per the plan, the inaugural event will see five teams playing a total of 22 matches.
What are the regulations of WIPL?
Each side can have a squad strength of 18 players, with a maximum of six overseas players. Five overseas stars can feature in a XI, four from full-member teams and one from associate nations. All sides will meet each other twice in the league stage. While the table-topper will advance to the final, the second and third-ranked teams will meet to determine the other finalist.
What would be the next step?
BCCI has already announced the media-rights tender for the first five seasons of the WIPL (2023-27). December 31 is the last date to pick up the tender. The board's next step would be inviting bids for the franchises. While auction for teams would take place in a particular city in men's IPL, the Indian cricket board is pondering on two different plans for WIPL.
Sell teams across zones
The first plan is to sell the sides across six zones in the country. Even the set of cities in each zone has been shortlisted: Dharamsala/Jammu (North zone), Pune/Rajkot (West), Indore/Nagpur/Raipur (Central), Ranchi/Cuttack (East), Kochi/Visakhapatnam (South), and Guwahati (North-East).
What is the second plan?
The other option, which BCCI has kept open, is to sell the teams without a solid home base. In this case, the matches will be played at six shortlisted venues: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai.
How the squads will be assembled?
BCCI is yet to finalize how the WIPL squads will be determined. It will be done either via an auction or a draft. Meanwhile, players' availability can be an issue as WIPL would clash with the inaugural Women's Pakistan Super League (WPSL). Though PCB is yet to announce the schedule, March 18 has been earmarked as the date of the final match.
Players' availability a concern for men's IPL
Meanwhile, BCCI is working out the availability of overseas players before finalizing the IPL 2023 schedule. The tournament will mark the return of the home-and-away format. As England are scheduled to host Ireland in a Test, starting on June 1, BCCI would want IPL to conclude by May end. Moreover, the ICC World Test Championship final will commence on June 16.