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Hopes World T20 will bolster push for Women's IPL

Cricket

On the eve of the Southern Stars’ World Twenty20 semi-final against England, the “frenemies” have formed a united front regarding women’s cricket in India.

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Australia captain Meg Lanning and England counterpart Charlotte Edwards have both thrown their support behind the push for a women’s Indian Premier League.

Lanning and Edwards, key players in the battle for a World T20 final spot that starts in New Delhi at 7.30pm ACDT tonight, both took part in the highly-successful inaugural women’s Big Bash League.

Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have been pacesetters in building up the women’s game and putting it on a path to professionalism.

Australia and England are the only two sides to have won the women’s World T20, while the ECB will launch its women’s T20 Super League this year.

India, the sport’s financial powerhouse, hasn’t been anywhere near as supportive of their female talent.

However, that has started to change in recent years.

Notably the Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) introduced central contracts in 2015.

There is no indication from the BCCI that a women’s IPL is in the works but India captain Mithali Raj is optimistic that hosting the women’s World T20 would speed up its development.

Lanning certainly hopes so.

“If that was to happen it’d certainly be exciting for the women’s game and a massive step forward,” Lanning said.

“It’d be fantastic… hopefully the Super League works really well and you never know what can happen from there.”

Edwards also believed an IPL competition would be a big boon for women’s cricket.

“It would be the next step,” she said.

“You’ve seen what it’s done to the men’s game… of course we’d like to see an IPL, and Indian women playing in WBBL and Super League.”

Edwards was full of praise for the WBBL, saying it had turned the Ashes rivals into “frenemies”.

“It’s been a long winter but a lot of gains from our point of view, a lot of our girls performed brilliantly out there,” she said.

Lanning noted it had brought the two sides closer together.

“We got to know each other. I guess it does make it a little different when you come up against them,” she said.

“But once you step out there, you’re certainly not friends anymore.

“We love playing against England just because of that. We know it’s going to be a tough contest, there’s always a little bit of niggle around.”

Lanning added that many Australian players were keen to take part in England’s Super League.

“WBBL was great for the game and great to bring so many internationals to the tournament. I’m sure the Super League will be the same,” the gifted batter said.

-AAP

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