Ever since the announcement of the Womens Premier League (WPL) was made last year, it has been whole-heartedly welcomed by all stakeholders in womens cricket.
With less than a fortnight left for the tournament to kick off in Mumbai, the WPL is set to give tough competition to other top women's franchise cricket leagues like the groundbreaking Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia and The Hundred in England.
But how does the WPL stand as compared to the WBBL or The Hundred? We take a look:
Total number of players involved: Ahead of the inaugural player auction, ninety places, including 30 for overseas players, were up for grabs. Now, WPL will see 87 players competing in the tournament, including all overseas slots filled up.
Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore filled all their 18 slots while Mumbai Indians and UP Warriorz signed up 17 and 16 players respectively in the player auction.
WBBL, on the other hand, has 16-member squads for all eight teams, including three overseas players in each team. Usually, a list manager is hired to sign up players on contracts running for a year or more than that.
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The Hundred is made up of 15 players, of whom a maximum of four can be overseas players. Players are signed using a draft system common in other franchise leagues and teams can retain an unlimited number of players as well as sign anyone from the world.
Number of matches: WPL will have 22 matches in a double round-robin format to be played in DY Patil Stadium and Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. The top three teams will move to the knockouts. The second and third placed teams will play an eliminator before facing the top-ranked team from the league stage in the final.
The league stage of WBBL comprises 56 matches. Each team plays 14 round-robin fixtures - two each against the other seven sides in the competition. The top four teams from the league phase advance to the Finals series.
The third and fourth placed teams meet in the eliminator. The winner from that game faces the second-placed team in the challenger. Whoever comes out on top will then meet the top-ranked team in the final.
The Hundred has eight city-based teams competing in 24 matches in the women's league stage (curtailed in 2022 due to Commonwealth Games in Birmingham). Most men's and women's matches were held on the same day at the same grounds, with one ticket giving fans access to both ties.
Once the league stage was completed, the top three teams went to the knockout stage. The second and third teams meet in a semi-final. The winner of the semi-final then meets the team that finished on top of the league in the final.
Total number of teams involved: From the ten IPL franchises, only three managed to get WPL franchises - Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals. The other two teams are Gujarat Giants and UP Warriorz, owned by Adani Sportsline, an arm of the Adani Group and Capri Global respectively.
In the WBBL, the competition features the same eight city-based franchises that make up the Big Bash League (BBL), with Melbourne and Sydney having two teams each. They are the Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
In May 2019, for The Hundred, it was revealed that the eight city-based teams would be taking the same names as the men's competition -- Welsh Fire, London Spirit, Manchester Originals, Oval Invincibles, Trent Rockets, Birmingham Phoenix, Northern Superchargers, and Southern Brave.
Coaching staff: A WBBL coaching staff has generally got a head coach, assistant coach, strength & conditioning coach and physiotherapist. Coaches in The Hundred comprise of head coach and one or two assistant coaches.
In the WPL, there's a head coach, assistant coach, or batting, bowling, and fielding coaches, apart from mentors. Like Mithali Raj is mentor-adviser of Gujarat Giants or Jhulan Goswami has dual responsibilities of bowling coach and mentor.
Governance structure: On February 19, 2015, Cricket Australia (CA), the country's cricketing body, announced that the WBBL would start later in the year. The league is currently under the complete ownership of CA.
All eight teams in The Hundred are centrally owned by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), with the salaries of players and coaches paid by the country's cricket's governing body. For the WPL, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be the administrator, which also does the job of organising the Indian Premier League.
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