Ellyse Perry believes the success of the first edition of The Hundred and the continuing growth of the WBBL should encourage India’s board to “pull the trigger” and launch a full women’s IPL.
The men’s edition of the IPL resumes in the UAE on Monday, and since its founding in 2008 has become the game’s most dominant T20 league. However, the women’s side of the event has been restricted to three “challenge” exhibitions since 2018.
Last year, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly suggested that the tournament should be expanded to “seven or eight” teams for 2022. This year the exhibition was postponed due to COVID-19 and has not been rescheduled.
As she prepared to take on India in a multi-format international series in Queensland, starting with the first of the ODI matches on Tuesday in Mackay, Perry told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that the addition of The Hundred’s prominent women’s tournament to the space already occupied by the WBBL could only push the BCCI.
“I actually think it is even more so an encouragement for other boards to seriously look at introducing professional women’s T20 competitions, particularly the BCCI and a full IPL for women,” Perry said. “Because there is a wonderful opportunity there and it’s increasingly becoming a great commercial opportunity for cricket boards to bring in a women’s side of the competition.
“Not just from a spectacle or entertainment point of view, but also because growing the game in their country and getting more young girls playing cricket and being involved is so important to the viability of the sport in the future.
“So to me that’s the role that those competitions play and it’s really wonderful to see how much time and support and investment Cricket Australia have put into the WBBL and also the ECB with The Hundred and before that the Super League. The more we can have these competitions spring up around the world, I think it’s fair to say the next frontier is an IPL.”
Australian players only took part in the first of the IPL exhibitions in 2018, before missing the 2019 and 2020 editions. India’s players have been a consistent presence in the WBBL and were also present for The Hundred, whereas Australia’s leading players, Perry included, withdrew from their initial involvement.
“I know there’s been a lot of dabbling with it in terms of exhibition IPL matches for women,” Perry said. “So at some point it’s about pulling the trigger and putting together a full competition and hopefully that’s not too far off. I’m sure the Indian girls would absolutely love that to be the case.