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News

Healy on WIPL, WPSL: It's exactly where 'the women's game needed to go'

Says India is "such an untapped market" and "they're going to be unbeatable in a 10-year time" with launch of Women's IPL

Annesha Ghosh
Annesha Ghosh
30-Mar-2022
Alyssa Healy was a part of the Women's T20 Challenge match in 2018

Healy, and other Australians, have not participated in the T20 Challenge in India, since the first edition in 2018  •  BCCI

Australia wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy has welcomed the BCCI's and the PCB's plans of launching a Women's IPL (WIPL) in 2023 and a Women's PSL (WPSL) in the near future, respectively. Though the start of these domestic leagues would require considerable planning to incorporate them into the women's international calendar, Healy said the feasibility of hosting these tournaments gaining traction is what impressed her the most.
"The announcements of those competitions are pretty great," Healy said on the sidelines of Women's ODI World Cup. "It's exactly where we thought the women's game needed to go. That was like the next step.
"We've had a really successful WBBL, and the Kia Super League went really well, now into the Hundred - there's sort of some thriving domestic competitions [around the world], so to see the announcement of the IPL, in particular, to be able to grow the game in India is unbelievable."
Healy has long been an advocate of a WIPL. Like several other top-drawer international cricketers from the world over, she had previously called for the roll-out of a WIPL to inject impetus into the growth of the Indian women's national team.
Healy, who featured in the inaugural one-off exhibition game of the now four-match Women's T20 Challenge, said: "It [India] is such an untapped market, I feel, in the women's game.
"With that many people, surely, they're going to be unbeatable in sort of a 10-year time. They just really needed a sort of a leg-up in that domestic set-up to showcase what these amazing women can do, so it's really exciting."
Healy, and other Australians, have not participated in the T20 Challenge, deemed a precursor to an IPL-style women's league in India, since the first edition in 2018. A last-minute stalemate between the BCCI and Cricket Australia in the lead-up to the 2019 T20 Challenge had led to the Australians missing out on the Indian tournament.
A clash in the scheduling of the three-team tournament with the WBBL the following year meant the Australians, who made up the largest contingent of overseas players in the inaugural edition, missed out for a second straight time, drawing criticism from Healy and several other stars of the women's game from other teams. The BCCI didn't stage the competition in 2021 for unexplained reasons.
""I reckon the more cricket we can play at a lower level to the domestic stuff, which is why CPL is going to be so big for us, the better."
Hayley Matthews on WCPL
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo in 2020, Healy had stressed that the decision-making around scheduling of domestic tournaments should be determined only by what's "actually best" for women's cricket. On Wednesday, she reiterated that planning of the WIPL will require a similar approach and that she would be available to play in any forthcoming domestics leagues.
"The scheduling is going to come into play," Healy said. "Obviously, what that looks like, I'm not 100% certain, but we're going to have to work it out, whether or not international players are going to be available for all the domestic competitions with an increase in international cricket or whether there's a focus on these domestic leagues - I'm not 100% certain.
"But first and foremost, it's just great to see them being spoken about [and] hopefully, see them get off the ground and if they want a 32-33-year-old opening batter that can chirp a little bit behind the stumps, I'm available."
The other high-profile women's domestic tournaments set to kick off this year include the ICC-recognised six-team FairBreak Invitational in May and the three-team Women's CPL (WCPL) in August-September. Reflecting on the need for identifying and nurturing young talent to offer a feeder line for the West Indies team, Hayley Matthews said the WCPL could play a pivotal role in that process.
"I reckon the more cricket we can play at a lower level to the domestic stuff, which is why CPL is going to be so big for us, the better, hopefully, we can get some more young girls coming through the system," Matthews, the West Indies allrounder, said after her team's loss to Australia in the World Cup semi-final at the Basin Reserve.
"Obviously, in this batch of players, this may be their last World Cup for a lot, not sure but at the same time, it would be really good if we could start nurturing some younger players throughout the domestic cricket season and yeah, get some more people filtering into West Indies stuff."

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha