Guest writer Aparna M asks: why no Indian women in the Super League?
When the overseas players for the inaugural Kia Super League were announced earlier this month, there was a notable omission: players from India and Pakistan.
Why? Well, while we don’t have information about the missing Pakistan players, we did get some insights regarding why Indian women cricketers would not be part of the league. BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said that they have not yet taken any decision on Indian women’s participation in the league – and that the BCCI was mulling over organizing something similar.
Now, the request was sent to all the boards in January to show their interest in participating in the league. Why has it taken the BCCI so long to arrive at a decision? Earlier, they had not allowed Indian women cricketers to be part of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia. The reason cited was that India’s domestic season clashed with the tournament. Fair enough.
However, there is nothing scheduled for July and August for the Indian women’s team. In fact, the next assignment for them is in November. So then why were they not allowed to be part of the KSL player pool? Not all those in this pool got picked, of course; but even if a couple of Indian players had got an opportunity to be part of the KSL, it would surely only have helped them to develop their game further.
To improve you need to play more, not less. This could have been such a great learning opportunity for Indian players, both on and off the field. It could have helped them enhance their skills by playing with players from other countries, in turn also sharing their own experiences with their international teammates. Most importantly, when they returned home, they could have shared these experiences with the rest of the national team.
The question arises whether the players were even asked for their opinion. Did they have any say in the matter? Did they get to express their desire to be part of the league and put their names forward? Going by what Thakur has to say, we can safely assume a no to these questions. If by any chance the players were asked, it would be interesting to know their answers, since we have not heard from them as yet.
As for organizing their own women’s T20 tournament, it is a welcome decision by the BCCI. It is to be hoped that they put in maximum efforts to make this a huge success. However, is it going to happen this year? If not, then it makes no sense to not allow Indian players to be part of the KSL this year.
Regarding the possibility of a women’s IPL, some immediate questions come to mind. Would it be linked together with existing IPL teams, as the WBBL was in Australia? Would it be possible in the heat of April and May to have double headers, with the women’s matches held in the afternoons or even late afternoons? While the Women’s WT20 did garner a lot of publicity for the women’s game, many of the matches were still played out to empty stands. This would not be an ideal situation for any domestic women’s league.
The BCCI must take all these things into consideration when they roll out their women’s cricket league. And given the effort that they put into IPL, let’s have no half-hearted measures, please.