Ramiz Raja bats for better domestic structure, women's T20 franchise league
Pakistan during ICC World Cup 2022 © Getty Images
Ramiz Raja, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman, feels Pakistan’s performance in the World Cup 2022 won’t be a deterrent for the progress of women’s cricket in the country. He also added that as part of more investment in the women’s game in the country, they will be looking to start a women’s version of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Former cricketer Raja, on multiple occasions, has talked about Pakistan’s desire to become the first country in Asia to start a women’s franchise T20 league. He added that they will be looking to develop the domestic cricket for the women’s game so that they can consistently compete against stronger sides in international cricket.
"We want to regularise the women's cricket calendar. The more they play the better they'll be. You can't just go into hibernation and then expect them to beat Australia. It's not going to happen,” Raja was quoted as saying by Espncricinfo. "We want to sign up young girls and develop them. Right now, the excitement is we might launch a T20 league before India, and the world can't believe that because there's a particular perception around Pakistan that needs to be broken."
Pakistan have lost all their matches of the World Cup 2022 so far despite being in the game at various stages. They failed to close out the innings against India and South Africa during their bowling effort, then went down against the latter and Bangladesh in close chases failing to seize the momentum.
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“We have our limitations and cultural issues, and to get out of that we have to fix their calendar. They need to play first class style three-day matches. Then look at selection and Under-19 structure.”
Pakistan currently don’t have any first class fixtures in their domestic calendar. For the 2021-22 season, their women’s cricketers participated in the Pakistan Cup Women’s One Day tournament in September 2021 and will play the national women’s T20 Cup in June – July this year. The teams for the T20 event have been increased from three to four. As per the fixture released last year, there’s also an Under-19 T20 tournament, the schedule for which hasn’t been announced so far.
"In January-February, we're thinking of the women's PSL. There's a lot of traction and a lot of takers for it. Pakistan women's cricket needs to improve a lot, and that will only happen when we give them an environment where they can make money and share the dugout with world-class players,” Raja added.
"We are also thinking of making first class women's teams and attaching them with provincial teams. They don't play much cricket and operate on a trial-and-error basis."
Australia are the only country with an official T20 franchise league in place as of now. Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) already has been termed as an undisputed success with seven editions of the tournament being conducted so far.
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England had four seasons of Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL) before it was scrapped in 2019. The Hundred Women’s Competition has replaced the T20 league even though the England men continue to play T20 Blast tournament alongside The Hundred Men’s Competition.
India have had three seasons of exhibition matches named Women’s T20 Challenge starting from 2018. But the tournament was not played during the year 2021 with BCCI citing the challenges owing to the COVID-19 pandemic for its no show.
On March 14, Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Caribbean Premier League (CPL) announced that there will be a Women’s competition for the first time in 2022. The three-team WCPL will be played alongside the tenth edition of the men’s event from August 30 to September 30.