Women’s cricket has come a long way from being a distant dream to a reality for many female players who can now represent their country as well as franchises and different leagues. Cricket was once a game played only by men because it was considered a gentleman’s game. However, times have changed, and women have achieved equal status with men. They have proved that they are no less than men and their achievements are evidence of that.
For example, this year’s first ever Women’s Indian Premier League was a huge success with some thrilling matches and many innings with nail-biting finishes. Women, who have already made their mark in the international format, have now moved on to participate in various international leagues such as BBL, WPL, Big Bash League and The Hundred. This article will cover all aspects of women’s league cricket worldwide.
History of Women’s T20 Cricket in India
In India, women’s cricket has not had the same strong domestic framework as men’s cricket. Female cricket players at the domestic level lacked exposure and opportunity, particularly in the game’s shortest format. In order to close this gap, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) established the Women’s T20 Challenge in 2018, an international professional women’s cricket league.
Three teams participated in the competition, and they played in round-robin groups before the final.
The tournament’s objectives were to advance women’s cricket and provide female players with more chances to demonstrate their abilities. Some of the finest players in the world, like Meg Lanning, Deandra Dottin, Sophie Ecclestone, Hayley Matthews, and others, had been selected for the play.
Players, coaches, fans, and members of the media all gave the tournament favourable reviews. With millions of fans tuning in to watch the matches on television and other platforms, it expanded the exposure and popularity of women’s cricket in India and around the world.
Teams in WPL (2022)
- MUMBAI INDIANS
- GUJRAT GIANTS
- ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
- UP WARRIORS
- DELHI CAPITALS
The Women’s Indian Premier League (WPL) was successfully launched in 2023 after years of planning and preparation. The league featured legends of women’s cricket from India and around the world. It was similar to the men’s IPL, but as it was the inaugural edition, it only featured five teams playing a total of eight games each.
The WPL followed the T20 league format, where the top three teams would directly qualify for the playoffs. The team with the highest points would directly qualify for the final, and the second and third teams would fight for the final spot.
The matches were played at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai and DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, with the latter hosting the final. Delhi Capitals finished on top of the table this year, and Mumbai Indians and UP Warriors finished second and third respectively.
The final was held between Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians. Mumbai Indians won the final and became the first-ever team to win the first edition of the WPL. The WPL was an exhibition of huge sixes, astounding deliveries, and star players. Meg Lanning was the highest run scorer of the season, while Hayley Matthews finished as the highest wicket taker.
T20 Leagues Around The World
The domestic Twenty20 cricket league for Australian women is called the Women’s Big Bash League. The league consists of eight city-based franchises with teams that are same as those used by the men’s Big Bash League (BBL). Teams are made up of members of the current and former Australian national teams, up to three marquee players from overseas.
The England and Wales Cricket Board organises a women’s 100-ball cricket league in England and Wales. There are eight teams in it with branding similar to those of the men’s. It’s a new innovation in the women’s game and has attracted many The most recent iteration took place in July and August of 2022.
Apart from these 2 prominent leagues for women, franchise based cricket are also hosted in South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies and New Zealand.
Broadcast And Coverage
Matches were broadcasted on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 2 and were also available on the streaming platform Jio Cinema. Previously, most Indian cricket matches were streamed on the digital platform Disney Plus Hotstar, but recently, the broadcasting rights were bought by the company Jio. The broadcasting platform initially faced some problems, but eventually improved over time and enhanced its performance and quality.
There was a concern that women’s cricket might not attract many fans because there was not much interest in women’s international cricket initially. However, as the performance of female cricketers has improved over time, the fan base of the sport has grown significantly. Fans are vital for the morale and motivation of the team because they boost the players’ confidence when they know that there is a crowd behind them who is cheering for them to win. Fans also play a crucial role in the success of leagues because they generate viewership and sponsorship. Moreover, each team has a social media account that allows them to interact with their fans.
For the WPL, fans turned out in great numbers with almost every game being played in front of a sold out arena. The TV and online viewership witnessed record ratings which made so called pundits wrong.
Many teams organize various fun activities for their squad to participate in and enjoy. You can follow your teams on @youtube, @twitter, and @instagram to stay updated.
Sponsorship and Revenue
The Tata group became the headline sponsor of the WPL for the first five seasons of the competition, starting in 2023. Tata Capital secured the right chest area on each team’s uniform. Noise, a company that makes fitness products joined as an associate sponsor. Hero Vida was a co-powered sponsor, and Bank of Baroda was an associate media sponsor of the WPL. Jio Cinema, which also had the rights to be a digital streaming partner, launched the league’s inaugural campaign, “Naam hoga tera Zubaan Par” which means “You must have heard of the name”. Viacom 18 paid INR 951 crore for the rights to stream the first season of the women’s Premier League online for five years starting from 2023.
Challenges and Controversies
1. Limited financial resources: Compared to men’s league cricket, women’s league cricket frequently experiences financial limitations. This may lead to insufficient spending on marketing, coaching, infrastructure, and player compensation.
2. Pay Disparity: The level and depth of skill in women’s leagues may suffer as a result of this salary discrepancy, which may deter talented players from making cricket their full-time career.
3. Cultural and Societal Barriers: Traditional gender roles, a lack of support, and fewer opportunities for women to play sports hinder the growth and acceptance of women’s cricket in particular locales.
Final Thoughts: The Future of Women’s Cricket
Women’s cricket will reach high levels in the future and this will also encourage women to participate in other sports as well. Women’s League cricket is working to overcome the above-mentioned obstacles and establish a more welcoming and prosperous environment. The key to overcoming these challenges and growing women’s cricket at the league level is continued funding, equality of opportunity, enhanced facilities, and increasing media attention, but most importantly, the support of us, the fans.