The BCCI have announced the squads for the Women’s T20 Challenge which has been scheduled to be played ahead of the first IPL qualifier at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 22. The one-off match will feature 26 players, including 10 cricketers from Australia, England, and New Zealand.
Earlier, in a landmark announcement, which can well pave the way for a better future for the women's cricket in the country, the BCCI and the CoA stated that Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur will lead two teams - IPL Trailblazers and IPL Supernovas - respectively in an exhibition match. The match was scheduled right before the play-off match so as to attract more spectators in the stadium. The exhibition match was basically played so as to test the market for the women’s IPL, which has been on cards to be organised in the coming years after continual pressure from various quarters following Indian women team's incredible performance in the last year's World Cup in England.
While the match is indeed a great news for all women’s cricket followers in the country, the BCCI has also done a great job in bringing many star players from Australia, England, and New Zealand to take part in the match. The players include Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine from New Zealand, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Megan Schutt, and Ellyse Perry from Australia, and Danielle Hazell and Danni Wyatt from England.
Healy, Mooney, and Bates star in the Trailblazers' set-up that also comprises Indian cricketers like Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Jhulan Goswami, and the young prodigy, Jemimah Rodrigues. On the other hand, Supernovas, who will be led by Kaur, will have players of the calibre of Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, Mithali Raj, Meg Lanning, and Megan Schutt.
"This is being staged as a well-deserved exhibition to showcase the tremendous depth and capability that women's cricket in India has achieved. We see it build into a women's IPL tournament in a couple of years." CoA chief Vinod Rai was quoted as saying by The Indian Express on May 12.
The exhibition match is scheduled to begin at 2 pm and all the IPL rules will be followed.
Trailblazers: Alyssa Healy (wk), Smriti Mandhana (Capt), Suzie Bates, Deepti Sharma, Beth Mooney, Jemimah Rodrigues, Danielle Hazell, Shikha Pandey, Lea Tahuhu, Jhulan Goswami, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Dayalan Hemalatha.
Supernovas: Danielle Wyatt, Mithali Raj, Meg Lanning, Harmanpreet Kaur (Capt), Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Pooja Vastrakar, Megan Schutt, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Anuja Patil, Taniya Bhatia (wk).