Cricket West Indies has announced captains and playing contingents for the three teams set to participate in the first-ever Women’s Caribbean Premier League.
Established female Caribbean stars Hayley Matthews, Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin will be leading Barbados Royals, Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinbago Knight Riders in the tournament, respectively.
The three-team competition, running concurrently with the men’s CPL T20, will begin on April 30. Hosted by St Kitts, the tournament has seen its initial squads decided via a draft procedure where 33 top West Indies cricketers – 11 apiece – have been allocated teams. The remaining three slots in the 14-member squads have been left vacant for overseas inclusions. Three overseas stars will be announced in due course.
“With Matthews and Taylor rated in the top 10 T20 allrounders in the world and Dottin one of the most destructive batters in the women’s game, all three players have shown their quality for the West Indies and in domestic competitions around the globe,”a CPL press release said.
The exact format of the three-team tournament is not yet unveiled, with anticipation that it maybe limited to two or three rounds of matches before a tournament final. A competition of this length may have been held near the men’s CPL playoffs and the final or while coinciding with the business end of it to try and attract maximum eyeballs.
“This inaugural Women’s version of the CPL represents a huge upward step for West Indies cricket. I am grateful to all those in CPL and CWI who made it happen, especially the three pioneering franchises who have so willingly got on board.”CWI president Ricky Skerritt stated.
Either way, the tournament is being looked at as a precursor to a full-fledged edition of the WCPL, with all six regions being represented in a quest for the coveted trophy like they are with the men’s version of the same.
“A Women’s CPL is the next logical step as we grow the brand, and we are very pleased that we have been able to make this a reality in 2022,”said the league’s CEO Pete Russell.
WCPL had been in the works since March when, after garnering early interest from three of the six franchises – including global star icon Shahrukh Khan-owned TKR – Skerritt and his CWI regime had confirmed that a tournament of this nature is set in stone for its inaugural edition during the home summer.
With the WCPL set to unveil itself and potentially expand to feature more teams, it becomes the fourth high-profile women’s T20 league in the world after Australia, England, and New Zealand’s own version of the same. The fifth – and considered the most critical of them all – is also in plans after BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirmed that a Women’s Indian Premier League is going to be held in 2023 after longstanding calls for it.
Positive signs are that Pakistan Cricket Board, too, is in line to organise a franchise-based domestic T20 league from next year, with Pakistan’s best female cricketers rubbing shoulders with the overseas stars.
A privately owned Fairbreak Invitational T20 in Dubai recently helped further raise the profile of the women’s game, especially in the white-ball formats, with fans relishing the better fitness standards, more boundaries and entertaining on-field play from their favourite female cricketing stars.