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London: June 4, 2014
England, one of the world’s leading nations for women’s cricket, has again insisted it has no plans to support a female equivalent of the Indian Premier League (IPL) run by an Australian businessman. Shaun Martyn is proposing to launch a Women’s International Cricket League (WICL), with the aim of attracting the world’s best players just as the lucrative Twenty20 (T20) IPL does for leading cricketers in the men’s game.
The proposed tournament, which sees Martyn in partnership with former Australia World Cup-winner Lisa Sthalekar, could see players earn £23,500 ($39,338) in 12 days — small change by IPL standards but a huge amount of money in terms of women’s cricket.
But England, who this year put their women’s team on a full-time professional footing, remain wary of Martyn’s plan which unlike the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)-backed IPL has yet to be endorsed by a major national governing body or the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Instead the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has put is faith in the new ICC International Women’s Championship, a one-day tournament which will lead to qualification for the 2017 World Cup. ”There has been a lot of misleading and as yet unsubstantiated information around how far advanced the proposed WICL is,” said Clare Connor, the ECB’s head of women’s cricket, in a board statement issued Wednesday.
Connor, a former England captain who is also chair of the ICC women’s committee, added, “I stress that from an ECB perspective this competition is not on our agenda. The immediate focus for international women’s cricket is the ICC International Women’s Championship, which the ICC board approved in January. For the first time ever, the top eight-ranked women’s teams in the world will play each other in a bi-lateral competition, with results determining qualification for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup. This is a real game changer for the women’s game…ICC and its members do not recognise privately owned tournaments or leagues in the men’s or women’s game.”
She concluded by saying, “Any Twenty20 tournament that features the best players in the world outside ICC competitions would need to be run and controlled by one of the full members, as opposed to by a private operator.”
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