Smriti Mandana and Harmanpreet Kaur, two of India's best young women's international cricketers, has been tasked to lead the respective sides that will be contesting the Women's T20 Challenge. This single game will take place ahead of the Indian Premier League 2018 Qualifier 1 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the development on Tuesday.
This exhibition game is in line with the long-term ambition to have a women's version of the IPL in the future. The match will have some of the best overseas cricketers from England, Australia, and New Zealand, playing alongside their Indian counterparts.
Speaking about this game, Rajeev Shukla, Chairman of IPL governing council was quoted saying, "Even as IPL continues to roll like a well-oiled machine, over the last couple of weeks, efforts were made to put in place a similar structure for women cricketers"
"We were in talks with several Boards and I am pleased with the outcome. White Ferns captain Suzie Bates, attacking batter Sophie Devine, who holds the record for fastest half-century in women's T20Is, Australia's fine all-rounder Ellyse Perry, wicket-keeper bat Alyssa Healy, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney have confirmed their participation. Danni Wyatt and Daniel Hazell will add the English flavour."
"This special game will be played at Mumbai's iconic Wankhede Stadium and will be telecast live in India and across the world,"
A member of Committee of Administrators (CoA) and former India captain Diana Edulji also talked about this development and said, "We are excited to announce the first-of-its-kind exhibition match involving our women cricketers. BCCI has been pulling out all stops to promote and nurture women's cricket and this is a small yet significant step towards a prospective league involving women's stars in the future"
"The IPL is the biggest and most popular league in the world and it has been a long-time endeavour to have a women's league that can match the exuberance of IPL"
"Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Veda Krishnamurthy among others rubbing shoulders with foreign stars will be a unique experience and something that we have not witnessed here in India,"