We are no strangers to the impact of franchise cricket. All who have lived through the start of the Indian T20 League in 2008 and the levels that Indian cricket has reached today know franchise cricket’s positive and negative impacts.
At the very onset, a more commercial and viewership-driven league for the women’s game is bound to nurture grassroot talent. The Indian T20 League has been a harbinger in this aspect; the development of domestic talents and handpicking of talent from the grassroot levels of the Indian cricketing system has been a dominant theme in the conduct of the Indian T20 League. Its women counterpart is expected to do the same.
Development of youngsters, higher commercial appeal among key impacts of the Women’s T20 League
The fact that local players can share the dressing room with some of their role models in the game makes for the league’s biggest impact. The development of youngsters is very much at the heart of the initiative behind the Women’s T20 League. Secondly, there is a visible status gap between male and female cricket players. A commercial driver league will strive to eliminate this gap and make women players global stars of the game as well.
The economic side of things is also something that takes centre stage. Smriti Mandhana remained the costliest player of the auction preceding the inaugural edition of the Women’s T20 League. She bagged a whopping paycheck worth 3.40 crore INR, figures unknown to the women’s game so far.
Arguably, the Indian Cricket Board did a great job in smoothly conducting the inaugural edition of the Women’s T20 League. Mumbai franchise, led by Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur remained the inaugural winners defeating Delhi in the final game as the Women’s T20 League led a wave of change, bringing the impacts of a fast-paced entertainment-driven form of women’s cricket into the country.
Technically speaking, changes in the pace of the game, adjusting to a higher run rate and increasing comfort levels with power-hitting and expert death bowling will be expected to slowly settle into the women’s game with franchise cricket being introduced in the system.