Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
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The PCB has announced the launch of women's T20 league, with the inaugural edition set to run alongside next year's PSL. There will be 12 games played, all of them in Rawalpindi, with the final due to take place on March 18 2023, the day before the Pakistan Super League final. The league will comprise four teams, with 18 players per side, including six foreign players.
"I am delighted to announce the women's league," PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said. "This league will attract young women cricketers to this great sport and help our current players further enhance their skills when they will get to share dug-outs with the overseas players. To amplify the coverage and promotion of this initiative, some of the matches will precede the HBL Pakistan Super League 8 matches.
"This event is aligned to our strategy of making Pakistan a stronger cricket playing nation across all formats and genders. We are not only creating attractive brands to strengthen our cricket economy, but through this tournament are also providing career opportunities to our women cricketers. The more our women cricketers will participate in high-pressure events, the more they will learn."
Ramiz has been a proponent of a women's T20 league ever since ascending to the chairmanship, with the lure of pipping India to hosting the first women's T20 league in Asia a consistent theme among his stated goals. India has held the Women's T20 challenge since 2018, but is yet to host a franchise-based women's league similar to the Indian Premier League. The inaugural edition of the women's IPL is also scheduled for March 2023, with the dates yet to be announced.
That means there could theoretically be a clash between the women's IPL and the women's T20 league in Pakistan, potentially impacting Pakistan's foreign options for the league.
Ramiz had told ESPNcricinfo earlier this year that the PCB was looking to host a women's PSL in the January-February window. At the time, Pakistan had just 12 centrally contracted women's cricketers, though that has since increased to 20. Pakistan still need to have a further 28 local players for the league, meaning they will need to dig deep among their reserves for local talent, and likely turn to players that featured in the national Under-19 tournament in August to make up the shortfall.
"There's a lot of traction and a lot of takers for it," Ramiz had said at the time. "Pakistan women's cricket needs to improve a lot, and that will only happen when we give them an environment where they can make money and share the dugout with world-class players. We are also thinking of making first-class women's teams and attaching them with provincial teams."