Saba Karim has insisted that only proper ‘planning’ and ‘roadmap’ could help the growth of women’s cricket in the country while stating that it has to be different from men’s cricket. Karim also added that women’s IPL will have the same quality as men’s IPL if only there is a strong foundation.
Saba Karim, who until December last year, was BCCI's general manager for cricket operations stated that the plans for women’s cricket have to be substantially different from men’s cricket. The Indian women’s team, who in the past have been restricted to playing white-ball cricket made her return to the longest format, against England.
Over the last few years, the Indian women’s team have shown their calibre reaching two semi-finals and a World T20 final, where they lost against Australia in the final. Karim added that in order for women’s cricket to grow in the country, the board has to have a constructive plan, with lots of outreach programmes while being different from men’s cricket.
"It is a good start, but there needs to be a solid plan, a plan different to that for the boys and men, for things to move forward and for us to build on it," Karim said in a chat with ESPNcricinfo.
"I feel the way to go forward is to make it much more professional, and growth of women's cricket has to be different from boys' cricket, and the planning has to be different. One has to have a different plan, a constructive plan, with lots of outreach programmes."
Alongside that, Karim also insisted that the state cricketing associations will have to step up and take more responsibility in order to ensure that a proper roadmap is being charted, in association with the BCCI.
"Initially, the responsibility of the state associations and the BCCI is to come up with a proper plan. A proper roadmap needs to be in place. That will come from the BCCI. But the BCCI can't do everything. The states need to play their part to make it happen," he added.
Karim also revealed that there were discussions about a points-system-based multi-format series with other nations. However, he added that for the multi-format series to be a regular feature, the Indian women’s domestic system needs to house more multi-day cricket, from the U-23 level to the senior level.
"There were discussions, there were talks, between some of the other nations too. More so after England and Australia introduced the points-system-based multi-format Ashes. This gained momentum in India too; the BCCI wanted to be in that position. I am glad it has happened. But to sustain it, we need multi-day cricket for women in the domestic circuit also. It might start from the Under-23 level, and take it up to the seniors."
While the talks of a full-fledged women’s IPL has been in the stable for a long time now, the former Indian cricketer added that outreach programmes with Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns are a necessity. He also insisted that with a stronger domestic circuit and better structure, a full-fledged women’s IPL can become a reality.
"Outreach programmes with Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns, schools, those were in the pipelines. The Women's IPL [in discussions for a while now but yet to become a reality] is at the highest level, and that we can have. But for it to be successful, we need a stronger domestic circuit, a better structure,"
"The women's IPL will have the same quality as the men's IPL if there is a strong foundation. The way men's cricket is played in India, we don't need to do too much, because there is so much talent, so many players in the system. That has to happen for the women."