Women’s Indian Premier League: T20 franchises sold for £465m

Players including England’s Sophie Ecclestone previously played in the Women’s T20 Challenge in India

The five franchises for the inaugural Women’s Premier League in India have been sold for £465m.

The WPL, which takes place in March, is a women’s version of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the world’s biggest Twenty20 franchise competition.

Owners of three existing IPL teams – Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals – secured the rights for women’s franchises.

The other two teams were awarded to Adani Group and Capri Global.

Those sides will be based in Ahmedabad and Lucknow respectively.

The owners of four other IPL franchises, Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, were unsuccessful with their bids.

Former England cricketer and BBC Test Match Special commentator Isa Guha described the deal as “a landmark day for the women’s game.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) previously sold the media rights for the WPL to Viacom 18 for approximately £96m.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah described the deal as “transformative” for women’s cricket.

A player auction will now be held before the tournament, which is expected to take place at the beginning of February.

Each team can sign up to seven overseas players, with England stars such as spinner Sophie Ecclestone and all-rounder Nat Sciver expected to be among the most expensive.

The player registration process has already started, with ex-England spinner and BBC Test Match Special summarizer Alex Hartley confirming her application on social media.

Previously, India hosted the Women’s T20 Challenge, an invitational event which started as one exhibition match in 2018 before expanding to three teams in 2019.

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