WPL the Game Changer?
A game-changer for women’s cricket, the WPL in India seeks to achieve massive popularity this year. In order to dominate women’s cricket, the newly established Women’s Premier League has high ambitions. The first season, which is soon to come to a conclusion, has been excellent.
Despite only having 22 days, the season could have a significant impact and change the course of women’s cricket.
On March 4th, the five-team competition got underway, and it will end on March 26th with the championship game. Adhering to the quick-paced T20 format, where games run almost three hours. Moreover, the Lucknow-based UP Warriorz, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Giants, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Delhi Capitals also put on fantastic performances this season.
“It’s going to be perhaps the most transformative competition ever seen in women’s cricket,” said Melinda Farrell of ESPN Sports.
This season has seen eye-catching financial investment. The five franchises were purchased in January for for $580 million. The broadcasting rights were acquired to Viacom18 for $117 million for five years, the second-highest per-game price in women’s sport in the entire globe (behind basketball).
“Such big sums are both an indicator of the strength of women’s cricket but also an enabler of further changes to come,” said Simon Chadwick, professor of sport and geopolitical economy at SKEMA Business School in France
He also added “ Investors in the sport recognise that there is already significant popular engagement with it, which, with improved leadership and management, could yield greater returns in the future.”
The WPL is the most popular and successful women’s cricket league. Over 1,500 women competed in the auction on February 13 for the 90 available positions (18 in each franchise). Smriti Mandhana of India had made the greatest money after Bangalore offered $413,000 for her. The two all-rounders from Australia and England, Ashleigh Gardner and Natalie Sciver, are the highest paid international players at $390,000. For female players everywhere, such sums have the potential to revolutionise the game.
According to the BCCI, the WPL will expand more quickly than the IPL and is expected to play a significant role in the game’s schedule. The WPL will be modelled after the IPL.
It’s too soon to tell if the WPL will take over as the most popular format of the game, but if it does, it won’t come as a surprise. With the establishment of WPL, women’s cricket in India will unquestionably change. For talented young women who foresee a future in cricket, many chances will be available.
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