Pink ball to make debut in women’s cricket league

A year after the men cricketers made their pink ball debut in the final of the Cricket Association of Bengal league at the Eden Gardens, the women cricketers too would be having a stint with the pink ball when the Women’s Pro Cricket League gets underway in Mysuru from June 12.

Preparations on at the Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wadeyar Ground in Mysuru.   -  Women's Pro Cricket League

Why should boys have all the fun?

A few years back, a television commercial with such a tag-line had turned quite a few heads. And, it seems that even India’s women cricketers are following a similar line, albeit on the field!

A year after the men cricketers made their pink ball debut in the final of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) league at the Eden Gardens, the women cricketers too would be having a stint with the pink ball when the Women’s Pro Cricket League (WPCL) gets underway in Mysuru from June 12.

In a bid to promote women’s cricket in Karnataka, five state cricketers — Rakshitha Krishnappa, Sanjana Batni, Prathyusha Challuru, Sahana Pawar, Vanitha VR and Akanksha Kohli — have come forward to organise the WPCL. An invitational tournament, it will see eight teams fighting it out for the title.

The five-day event will have the final on June 16, and a total of four matches will be held daily at the Gangotri and JC grounds in Mysuru.

“The teams are divided into two groups with 4 teams each. Each team gets to play 3 league matches each day,” Vanitha, an India international, told Sportstar on Thursday.

To ensure that the league goes on smoothly, the cricketers have got the necessary permission from the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA).

“We didn’t want any disruption, so we have addressed all the issues. We have a few sponsors who have come forward to support this mega event and we are very thankful to them,” Vanitha said.

With the Indian women’s team busy preparing for the ICC Women’s World Cup, the top 15 players will be out of action. But even then, some of the known names like Sravanthi Naidu, Anuja Patil and Sagarika Rath will feature in the tournament.

“Even though there are many tournaments for the men cricketers, there are not many opportunities for us. This event aims to develop the cricketing scene,” Vanitha, who has played 6 ODIs and 16 T20s for India, said.

The batswoman, however, admitted that the idea came up a few weeks back and organising it was a big challenge.

“This is for the first time the women cricketers will play in pink ball, so it is a new thing. We decided to do this tournament a few weeks back,” she said, adding that it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the sponsors.

Hoping for IPL for women

With the small town gearing up for some new brand of cricket, the organisers hope that the tournament makes the BCCI think about starting an IPL-style league for women.

“That is required for women’s cricket to grow in India. Hope this will show the way,” Vanitha said, hoping to make the event a success.

After all, there is always a first time!

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