Australian cricket stars Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry have expressed their desire to feature in the women’s Indian Premier League, with the relationship between the two countries’ cricket boards on the mend.
Healy, Perry and Aussie skipper Meg Lanning were snubbed from last year’s high-profile IPL exhibition series as the relationship between Cricket Australia and the Board of Control for Cricket in India hit rock bottom.
The star trio had originally agreed to play in the event before being overlooked as negotiations over the men’s one-day series in the middle of the Australian summer wore on.
But with the relationship between CA and the BCCI now seemingly on the mend, and the appointment of Sourav Ganguly as president of the Indian body, Healy says there’s no better time for the women’s game to rally behind an official league in the sub-continent.
“I think the women’s IPL is the next step forward in our game across the globe,” Healy told Wide World of Sports.
“And with the depth India have got at the moment, it’s no better timing to try and launch a proper IPL. Fingers crossed that it can get off the ground and we can be a part of it.
“It’s something I’d love to do. I think it’s something every Australian player would love. Playing over in India is a special experience and to be part of an IPL experience would be even better.”
While the league currently exists as a series of exhibition matches played at the tail end of the men’s tournament, there has been a marked push for officials to launch a fully-fledged women’s IPL within two years, with announcement of the expansion to a fourth team in 2020’s competition.
Female cricket numbers have increased significantly in the country since 126 million viewers there watched the team make the 2017 one-day World Cup final, and T20 skipper Harmanpreet Kaur believes the scene is now ripe for the women’s game.
“From the last couple of years the girls have started looking forward with women’s cricket,” she said.
“We need to keep performing for this team and girls are going to look at that.
“Earlier we didn’t have that many girls who are playing cricket. But after the 2017 World Cup we have seen many girls who want to become cricketers.
“So I think in five years we will definitely get many girls who want to play for their country and want to do well in world cricket.”
India arrived in Sydney last week as the T20 World Cup’s youngest team.
With an average age of 22 and four teenagers in the country’s 15-player squad, the cohort made a huge statement in Friday’s opening night victory over Australia, and Perry said it was only a matter of time before the country had its own fully-fledged domestic tournament.
“There is certainly a lot of interest over being involved in an IPL,” Perry told Wide World of Sports.
Women’s T20 World Cup begins
“I think we’re probably not quite at the stage where it’s going to be a fully-fledged tournament at the moment like the WBBL or the Hundred over in UK.
“But each year is a really good stepping stone to that, so I think that’s really encouraging and certainly as players we want to support that and show that we’re really interested and invested in there being a full IPL at some point.”
– with AAP