The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly zeroed down on a start date for the first-ever edition of the Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL), which is set to get underway from 2023. The official announcement will be made following the BCCI’s annual general body meeting scheduled to be held on October 18, 2022, in Mumbai. The AGM will also decide the next BCCI President and IPL Governing Council Chairman.
The WIPL is set to be held in March 2023, after the conclusion of the Women’s T20I World Cup, which will be held in South Africa and is scheduled to conclude on February 26, 2023.
The inaugural season of the WIPL is set to have five teams and 22 matches. Each squad will have a total of 18 players, with a maximum of six foreigners. No team will be allowed to field more than five foreigners in their playing XI, while four players will have to be from full-member nations and one from an associate nation. All five teams will play each other twice before the playoffs. While the table-topper will get direct entry into the final, there will be an eliminator match played between the second- and third-placed teams in the table to secure the other finalist.
A a statement released by the BCCI read:
“It will be a challenge to play the WIPL in the home and away format, because with five to six teams it is not possible to have a match every day. It is suggested that the tournament can be played in caravan style, where after finishing ten matches at one venue, the next ten matches to be played at the next venue. Therefore, ten matches each to be played across two venues in the 2023 WIPL season, ten each in the next two venues in the 2024 season, and for the 2025 season ten matches in the remaining one venue and the remaining ten in one of the venues from 2023 season.“
The BCCI has also stated two plans for WIPL franchises. While in the IPL franchises could bid for their teams, for the WIPL, the BCCI has two plans :
- The first one is that of selling teams across six zones in the country. The BCCI has already decided on a set of cities for each region: Dharamshala/Jammu (north zone), Pune/Rajkot (west zone), Indore/Nagpur/Raipur (central zone), Ranchi/Cuttack (east zone), Kochi/Visakhapatnam (south zone) and Guwahati (northeast zone)
- The second plan is to sell the teams with a home city/ground and the matches would take place in six IPL venues, which are: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
The BCCI has also discussed future plans for the format of the WIPL, stating:
“Like IPL, it will be a challenge to play in home-away format in WIPL, as with five to six teams it is not possible to have a match every day. It is suggested that the tournament can be played in caravan style where after finishing ten matches at one venue, the next ten matches to be played at the next venue. Therefore, ten matches each to be played across two venues in 2023 WIPL season, ten each in the next two venues in 2024 season and for 2025 season, ten matches in remaining one venue and remaining ten in one of the venues from 2023 season.“
The plan to launch the WIPL has been in the making for a long time and the BCCI has stated the growth of the women’s game as a major factor.
In a statement, the BCCI said:
“With the rise in popularity of women’s cricket in the country mainly due to prominent performances by the Indian Senior Cricket team on the world stage by qualifying for semi-finals in 2018 T20 World Cup, finals in 2020 T20 World Cup, securing a silver medal in the recently held 2022 Commonwealth games in Birmingham, we intend to conduct the Women’s IPL on similar lines with the Indian Premier League.”