The second edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) will be held in February and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will decide shortly on whether the tournament will be held in just one city - as it happened in the inaugural edition - or will be played in multiple cities.
Arun Dhumal, the chairman of the IPL Governing Council, told Sportstar that there will be discussions over the venue when the office-bearers meet in Mumbai on the sidelines of the WPL auction on Saturday (December 9).
“The WPL will be in February, so we will be checking on the venues. Once we meet, most probably during the WPL auctions, we will figure out where it makes more sense to host the tournament, given the logistical challenges and the time available. We will take a call on that,” Dhumal said.
There’s a buzz in the cricketing circuit that games could be played in Mumbai and Bengaluru, given both cities have a strong fan base for women’s cricket. Last season, when the matches were held in Mumbai, fans turned up in large numbers and whenever Mumbai Indians or Royal Challengers Bangalore featured in a game, it was a packed house.
Dhumal, however, stated that a decision will be taken keeping all factors in mind. “If it is possible to host it in a multi-city format, that would be better for the fans and the franchises, since there is a fan base. But it all depends on how much time is available and the logistical challenges,” he said.
However, going forward, the BCCI plans to conduct WPL fixtures in as many venues as possible to tap into the local market. “Definitely, we would want the tournament to go through the geography of the entire country, given the diversity of our country. It’s a great opportunity for all the franchise to engage with the fans through the length and breadth of this country. There are many stadiums and would be phenomenal for fans to engage with women cricketers. Now that the franchises are clear, even they would be keen on having their games in their local centres,” Dhumal said, “We will work with the franchises and see to what extent it is possible to organise matches there…”
The inaugural edition of the tournament had garnered huge popularity among all the stakeholders and Dhumal expects the tournament to only get better. “The whole idea is to keep on improving the quality of the games. Last time, we did not have enough time in terms of selecting our partners, choosing the franchises and also in terms of hosting the auction. That was too close to the World Cup also. Now, the franchises are clear and they would have seen the domestic and international tournaments and how the players are performing. They would be better placed in terms of their teams,” Dhumal said.
“Once a team set-up is regulated better - in terms of selection of players - I am sure the tournament will be more competitive, which would end up creating more interest and engagement for the fans. For the inaugural season, we had a phenomenal tournament - the viewership through the broadcast and also in-stadia. It was a packed house, so we are hoping that the tournament gets more engagement every season. We are sure, we will have a great tournament, going forward…”
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