Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2023

by Deepanshu Srivastava

The long wait for the much-awaited Women’s Premier League came to an end with its inaugural edition getting kicked off on March 4, 2023, 15 years after the men’s IPL- the brainchild of Mr. Lalit Modi which created a revolution in Indian cricket. Framed exactly along the lines of men’s IPL, the WPL franchise selected their teams through an auction held in February this year with each team having 7 Indian players and 4 overseas players in their playing 11.Out of 87players auctioned for this year’s WPL, the highest number of overseas players are from Australia (14) followed by England (7). The 22-match League will have its Final on March 26. The inaugural match of this 22 -day long historical league was played between the teams of Mumbai Indians(owner Mukesh Ambani) and Gujarat Giants (owner Gautam Adani) at the sprawling DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai after an hour-long glittering inaugural Ceremony comprising Bollywood sensations Kiara Advani and Kriti Sanon who mesmerized the Cricket lovers with their deadly dance movements followed by not – so impressive raps by the Punjabi rapper AP Dhillon. It was just a coincidence that the inaugural clash was between the franchise of Ambani and Adani, the two Mumbai-based giants ofIndian industries. The national team captain and the pride of Indian women’s cricket Harmanpreet Kaur explained the importance of WPL by saying that ” we were all looking for this opportunity for the last so many years and now that it has arrived, it is going to take Indian women’s Cricket to the nextlevel.”THE 5 TEAMS OF WPL -2023 AND THEIR STAR PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:(1) DELHI CAPITALS (DC)Captained by Australia’s Meg Lanning, the architect of Team Australia’s victory in the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup, Meg is certainly going to be a pleasure to watch play. The team DC will draw lots of strength from Jemimah Rodrigues, Shefali Verma, and Protease all-rounder Marizanne Kapp,all 3 having good experience with a shorter version of the game.(2) GUJARAT GIANTS (GG)Although the team got an initial blow when its captain Beth Mooney and then Deandra Dottin got ruled out for entire matches due to injuries, the team still has its Star players Ashleigh Gardner, Sophia Dunkley and upto certain extent Sneh Rana ( captain ), and Harleen Deol to put up a brave show.(3) MUMBAI INDIANS (MI)Captained by Indian women’s team skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, the team has a robust set of overseas cricketers having stylish Nat Sciver-Brunt, Hayley Mathews, and Amelia Kerr apart from Pooja Vastrakar. The team has shown its determination to lift the Cup with its superb Cricketing skills by winning all the 3 matches it has played so far.(4) ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE (RCB)Although the team has lost all of the 3 matches it has played so far, the team is certain to bounce back with its star-studded composition comprising of its leader Smriti Mandhana, in-form Richa Ghosh, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, and Heather Knight.(5) UP WARRIORZ (UPW)Captained by the most destructive opener of the game Alyssa Healy, the team will, however, rely mostly on its bowlers Sophie Ecclestone, Shabnim Ismail, and dependable Deepti Sharma who can restrict any team with their bowling.The biggest advantage of WPL will be the opportunity for budding Indian players to play alongside star overseas players and learn from their games. This will certainly raise the standard of women’s cricket in the country apart from getting some well-hidden talents. At present, after watching the 8 matches held so far and the recently held ICC T20 WC, the majority of Indian women cricketers are far below the international standards in all the 3 departments of the game.Now that the Women’s Premier League has arrived in India, there is a need to change its name from WPL to IPL ( women) keeping in line with IPL (men). Hope BCCI will take note of it.About the Author: A proven interpretative sports journalist and a storyteller, Deepanshu Srivastava is from Pune and may be reached through [email protected].

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