Better chance of fitting women's franchise leagues into FTP than men's, admits ICC CEO Geoff Allardice

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Geoff Allardice has observed that clashes between international games and franchise leagues in women's cricket would be easier to manage given the lack of Tests in the Future Tours Programme. Snehal Pradhan, meanwhile, discussed the potential growth of the game with the introduction of Women's IPL.

Even as the debate about the future of men's cricket rages on in the cricketing fraternity with respect to the growth of T20 franchise leagues and the diminishing status of international bilateral cricket, the women's game has been constantly scaling new heights of growth each year. In 2022 itself, the cricketing boards of India and Pakistan announced that 2023 would see the two countries host inaugural editions of the hugely-popular Indian Premier League and the Pakistan Super League respectively. Not only would the tournaments serve as a means to boost the popularity of women's cricket but also provide a platform for homegrown talent to elevate to the next level -- a model that has proven to be hugely successful in the Women's Big Bash League over the past eight years.

However, most importantly, the women's game won't have to deal with the same friction between internationals and franchise leagues as their male counterparts due to the small number of Tests played by women. Last year, the International Cricket Council had released the first women's Future Tours Programme which listed only seven Tests between 2022 and 2025, still a slight uptick from the six placed since 2018 to date.

"The balance between the women's international fixtures and the domestic leagues is something we are going to have a better chance at co-ordinating than the way the men's calendar has developed over the last decade or so," ICC CEO Geoff Allardic was quoted saying to the media by ESPN Cricinfo Tuesday.

"We are starting to see a fairly regular schedule of cricket for the top female players around the world and the release of the first FTP for women's international cricket was a big stepping stone for trying to get ahead of that and trying to avoid clashes wherever possible with some of those leagues. It is something we are monitoring on a regular basis and hopefully as we update the FTP, it's something we will continue to do to stay ahead of." 

"The one difference is that there isn't the same chunks of time taken up with Test series in the women's calendar and that gives a little bit more freedom to avoid those clashes," Allardice concluded on the matter.

On the other hand, the newly appointed ICC Women's Cricket Manager Snehal Pradhan expressed optimism at the prospect of having a Women's IPL, citing the 47,000 attendance at a T20I between India and Australia Women last month as an indicator of the growing popularity of women's cricket.

"It will be tremendous for Indian cricket but also for overseas players who participate in the tournament. We have seen in the India-Australia series, not only did we have great crowds, we also had a great standard of cricket which has been a good advertisement for whatever might come next. The opportunity for so many more players to become professional and become close to professionalism will boost the depth and the quality in not just India but all over the world," she stated.

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