Star India opener Smriti Mandhana firmly believes that cricket in the country has enough depth for the introduction of a six-team women’s IPL, which can further help in improving the bench strength for the national side.
The 25-year-old stylish batter said the quality of domestic players has improved in the men’s game since the advent of the Twenty20 league and the same could be the case for women’s cricket.
“There is the same number of states for men and women. So, when they started men’s IPL, there was the same number of states. But the quality went higher and higher as the years passed by,” Madhana said on Ravichandran Ashwin’s YouTube channel.
“What IPL is today, it wasn’t the same 10 or 11 years back. I think it’s the same for women’s cricket. We have the same amount of girls playing cricket.
“For now, I think we will have good five or six teams to start with and probably grow to eight teams in one or two years. But till the time we don’t start, we don’t know,” she added.
Mandhana feels the league could give the women the right kind of exposure that is required to improve their games.
“Five-six teams, we are good to go with. But eight teams, I am still not sure how it will look like. But I think we really need to start with five or six teams so that we can actually get to eight teams very soon.
“I think till we don’t start, we are not giving exposure to our girls to turn their cricket into a really different level,” she said.
Mandhan said the women’s Big Bash League has led to an improvement in the bench strength of the Australian team, something which can be replicated in India with the women’s IPL.
“I played in Big Bash four years back and now the quality is very different. You can see that in Cricket Australia where they have 40-50 cricketers ready to play international cricket any day.
“So, I really want that to happen in Indian cricket. I think IPL will play a huge role in that,” Mandhana added.
Currently, the BCCI hosts a Women’s T20 Challenge which features three teams — Trailblazers, Supernovas and Velocity.