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The Light Roller

Hello WPL ladies, welcome aboard the money train

You go, girls - and hurry up with those international retirements

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
16-Feb-2023
The WPL auctioneer demonstrates the recommended size of bag cricketers are advised to bring to take home their auction earnings  •  BCCI

The WPL auctioneer demonstrates the recommended size of bag cricketers are advised to bring to take home their auction earnings  •  BCCI

Hey laydeeeeez. It's finally time, in the words of the Beastie Boys, to get funky. The people have spoken - or at least 50% of them have - and after a mere few years of respectfully listening to [surely that should be "ignoring"? - Ed] their demands, the BCCI has played its benevolent hand and created a Women's IPL. Female cricketers of the world, rejoice, because the men in suits have decided you're worth it.
The Light Roller has always been a champion of the women's game - we were fans of Rachael Heyhoe Flintoff before most people had even heard of her - and we're delighted that the chicks have got what they wanted: money.
Sorry, make that equality. But listen, the cash is decent: according to Jay Shah, the WPL is already the "second-highest valued" league in world cricket. And who among us would argue that showering one small area of the sport with bank notes could ever be anything other than beneficial?
Anyway, before the wokerati accuse us of peddling paternalistic claptrap, here are a few tips from the top, gleaned from our years of dedicated men's IPL watching.
Club vs country
The WPL is only three weeks long, but these are now the most important three weeks of your life. Do you want to risk missing out with an injury sustained while playing a bilateral series in Sri Lanka in November, just because your country's selectors want you to? No. Best bring those international retirement plans forward.
Franchise life
You're going to be based throughout the tournament in Mumbai, one of the greatest cities in the world. So what should you do when not on team duty? That's right, sit in your room and play Xbox. If you need anything from outside - coffee, newspaper, replacement batteries for the halo light used on your Twitch stream - then make sure to send the social-media intern.
Fan following
Now that the auction has been concluded, you've doubtless felt the love in your mentions. Welcome to the world of #OneFamily #PlayBold #CapitalsUniverse. Your new supporters will cheer for you, pray for you, get tattoos of you… and also send you dog's abuse on Twitter if you ever have an off day.
Brand awareness
You are an empowered girl boss inspiring the next generation of sportswomen, you are a super she-ro who can take down the patriarchy in between net sessions… But you are also a walking billboard whose raison d'etre is to sell more bags of cement. Remember who's paying the bills, sister.
Food and drink
Don't worry about having to eat curry all of the time, Indian hotels can provide the finest in global cuisine. Just keep an eye on your portion control, because the camera adds several pounds and those uniforms can be a little unflattering.
Good luck, and hopefully you won't get asked if you're a cheerleader!

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Speaking of fitness demands in the modern game, the Light Roller was saddened by South Africa's decision to omit Dane van Niekerk from their T20 World Cup squad due to her inability to run a set distance in an arbitrary time frame. This seems another example of the women getting a raw deal. The sport has barely been professional for ten minutes and already it's gone all in on body-shaming. If 150 years of men's cricket has taught us anything, it's the value of carrying around a bit of extra timber - from WG to Inzy. Surely the ladies deserve a similar "Grace period"? As the famously sturdy doctor didn't quite say: "They came here to watch me bat and bowl, not you oversee a 2k time trial."

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"It's bigger than the Ashes" has been one of the themes of the build-up to the ongoing instalment of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and in at least one sense that is already being borne out. Controversies that have so far exercised the Aussie press include how unplayable the Nagpur pitch was (Rohit Sharma 120, Axar Patel 84, Ravindra Jadeja 70), dirty tricks over practice facilities, the changing tour itinerary, whether Australia's players are too pally with the Indians, their own team selection, and just what was Jadeja rubbing on his fingers? Credit to the touring hacks, who have displayed all their years of phoney war experience - but it usually takes them until the fourth or fifth Test of an England series to drop their bundle so comprehensively.

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick