On 7th October 2021, Cricket Australia announced that it has struck a deal with Fox Sports to ensure a broadcast of each & every match of Weber Women's Big Bash League. It's being hailed as a Landmark deal for Women's cricket. In the first season of WBBL, only 10 games were aided on TV. From that to having the entire tournament on TV, it's been some journey & all the stakeholders deserve the praise for it. Let's also not forget that from the last couple of seasons, WBBL is being held as a standalone competition, which is a terrific thing.
Why do we need to look at this development? It shows how the game grew step by step but more importantly, it shows that Cricket Australia had a plan for Women's cricket and that was implemented in a really good way. They could have harped about infrastructure, who would watch it, do we have enough players. etc & kept this tournament on the back burner but they didn't do that. Unlike the BCCI, which keeps finding one reason or the other to not start the WIPL, They built a good tournament that's now unearthing them great talent which has helped Australia to turn into the superpower they are in the women's game. This could have been India if our administrators had the will.
One school of thought says that the team needs to win a world event before WIPL can be started often wrongly citing the IPL -2007 T20 World Cup example. Firstly, The IPL was already in the making before the victory at the 2007 T20 World Cup. Secondly, it's a bit too much to expect a trophy without actually investing in the sport. Here, our team has reached the finals of 50 over WC & T20 WC in the last 4 years & also, the Semifinals of another T20 WC in 2018. This isn't any minor achievement. In fact, It won't be wrong to say that these achievements have come despite the system & challenges they face due to the way the game is run back home.
Another thing that's always raised when we talk about WIPL is whether we have enough players. Surely we have enough teams to start a league with 4-6 teams. If you still fear that there may not be enough players to maintain a quality tournament, you can easily have more foreign players for the initial tournaments & bring the number down to 4 when you are confident about the quality. There are plenty of ways to go about things if you really want to make it happen. As a proverb goes, Where there’s a will there’s a way. Sadly it feels like the top brass of BCCI just doesn’t want to make it a reality.
Just look at the IPL today. While it's not only about IPL, The opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the world & learn from the best has really helped Indian Men's Team. Could you have imagined a scenario when IPL had just started that 3 out of 4 top wicket-takers of the tournament would be uncapped Indians? This could be the case with women's game too. Just need someone to stand up for the game. Otherwise, we would just sit here waiting for the opportune moment and miss out on the chance to give the Women's game the platform it deserves.
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