India women ODI captain Mithali Raj has urged the BCCI to get Women’s IPL underway from next year onwards and not delay it any further.

While BCCI president Sourav Ganguly feels that a women’s IPL is at least four years away, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar feels otherwise reasoning the earlier such a tournament becomes a reality, the better it will be for women cricket as it will ensure steady supply of more talented players translating into global title wins.

Mithali agrees.

“I personally feel they should start a women’s IPL by next year, even if it’s on a slightly smaller scale and with some changes in rules, such as, say, have five to six foreign players in the first edition instead of four as is the case with the men’s IPL,” Raj told ESPNCricinfo.

BCCI though has been organising a short Women’s T20 Challenge since 2018 and had increased the number of matches to seven this year that was to run parallel to the IPL playoffs before the league was postponed due to coronavirus pandemic.

Mithali accepts there’s not enough depth in India women’s domestic pool yet but said BCCI will have to start at some point suggesting involvement of more foreign players initially before gradually increasing participation of domestic talent.

“I agree we don’t have the depth in the domestic pool yet, but the key is to get the existing franchises to form teams, even if [only] five or six of them are keen to begin the process because in any case, the BCCI was going to have four teams [in Women’s T20 Challenge],” she suggested.

“You cannot wait forever; you have to begin at some point, and gradually, year by year, you can keep evolving the league and then bring it down to four foreign players,” she added.

Raj also backed for the inclusion of teenage batting sensation Shafali Verma in the ODI squad as well. “It’s not a bad idea to consider her for the ODIs. She is young but that should not be a criterion for not giving her opportunities in the ODI side,” she said.