Watching the captain of the Indian Women’s Cricket Team Mithali Raj display her batting prowess as a part of Lancashire Thunder. Witnessing ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year for 2007, Jhulan Goswami work her magic as a part of the Sydney Sixers. Watching in slack-jawed wonder as cricketer Smriti Mandhana takes to the field as a part of the Surrey Stars. Thanks to the BCCI’s recent ruling, these dreams might soon be a reality!
In a long overdue step, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has finally thrown open the doors for India’s women cricketers to participate in international leagues across the world.
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The move was announced on the 1st of June during a meeting of the Women’s Cricket Committee in Mumbai.
The BCCI’s bid to maintain the Indian Premier League as the top T20 tournament had translated into the unstated policy of denying Indian cricketers the permission to participate in international leagues; a policy that was extended to include women cricketers despite the obvious lack of a domestic T20 league for them.
Wisden India reports that it is this unstated policy that resulted in the women cricketers missing out on the inauguration of the Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) last December. The team was also not among the squads listed for England’s Kia Super League either, with the England and Wales Cricket Board claiming that the BCCI was yet to respond to their invitation.
The change in policy is believed to have been brought about after the team’s near-miss at the ICC Women’s World T20 2016 tournament.
Several international players, including cricketers from the West Indies’ team and the New Zealand team have spoken about the positive impact that the WBBL has had on their game. It is perhaps this improvement in their big-match preparation that the BCCI hopes to achieve for the women’s cricket team.
Cricketer Smriti Mandhana agrees: “The experience of interacting with international stars and seniors would definitely help Indian players in international games.”