IPL 2023 is likely to begin on April 1, while the inaugural season of the Women’s IPL is likely to be played from March 3 to 26 with both tournaments to be played in India. While the BCCI is yet to formalise the dates, it has earmarked a window for the WIPL with the tournament set to start a week after the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup final, which is scheduled to be played on February 2 in Cape Town.
As for the IPL, ESPNcricinfo has learned that the BCCI is working out the availability of overseas players before it finalises the end date for the 10-team tournament, which will return to the home-and-away format that was shelved due to constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is likely that the BCCI would want to wrap up the IPL by the end of May since England are scheduled to play Ireland in a one-off Test at Lord’s from June 1 to 4. A few days later, The Oval will host the second ICC World Test Championship final – which India have a chance of contesting – while the Ashes begin from June 16.
On Friday the BCCI announced the media-rights tender for the first five seasons of the WIPL, 2023 to 2027. While the last date for picking up the tender is December 31, 2022, it is learned that the bids will be opened around January 8. The BCCI has decided to adopt the closed-bid process instead of an e-auction. While further details will emerge once the bidders pick up the tender document it is learned the BCCI has not set any base price for each of the three categories for which rights will be sold: television, digital, and a combination of the two.
According to the plan, the league will be contested by five franchise teams playing a total of 22 matches. Each squad can have up to 18 players, with a maximum of six overseas players, and each playing XI can include five overseas players (four from Full Member countries and one from an Associate nation).
In the league phase of the WIPL, each team will play the other twice (a total of 20 matches), and the table topper will progress straight to the final. The teams that finish second and third in the league will play an Eliminator to determine the second finalist.
According to the BCCI’s timelines, the next step would be inviting bids for the five franchises. Unlike the men’s IPL, where franchises bid for teams in a particular city, the BCCI had drafted two initial plans for the WIPL. The first one was to sell teams across six zones spanning the country. A set of cities in each zone has been shortlisted and comprises: Dharamsala/Jammu (North zone), Pune/Rajkot (West), Indore/Nagpur/Raipur (Central), Ranchi/Cuttack (East), Kochi/Visakhapatnam (South) and Guwahati (North-East).
The second plan involves teams being sold but without a solid home base, with matches to be played at six shortlisted IPL venues: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
The final leg of the process involves the assembling of squads and the BCCI is yet to finalise whether this will be done via an auction or a draft. Player availability will remain a concern considering the WIPL could clash with the inaugural season of the Women’s Pakistan Super League (WPSL). While the PCB is yet to release a final plan for the tournament, March 18 has been earmarked as the date of the WPSL final.