Sky Sports has agreed to broadcast the first Women’s Premier League, the women’s version of the Indian Premier League (IPL), with Sky Sports Cricket broadcasting from the opening game next Saturday.
The inaugural league lasts 22 days in March and features five city teams in a franchise T20 league: Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Lucknow.
Each team plays the other four twice in a round-robin group stage, with the top three advancing to the playoff stage. The winners of the competition automatically advance to the Finals, with the second and third place teams competing in an eliminator to decide who else will play in the Season Finals on March 26.
The first-ever WPL auction took place earlier this year, where Natalie Sciver-Brunt and Sophie Ecclestone were sold for £320,000 and £180,000 respectively, with several other England players set to play in the new league.
Who else plays in the Women’s Premier League?
Australian all-rounder Ash Gardner was sold to the Giants for £320,000, while the highest price to date came from India’s Smriti Mandhana, who was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for £340,000, while her international teammate Deepti Sharma was bought by UP Warriorrz for £259,000.
Ecclestone will be joined at the Warriorz by fast bowler and England teammate Lauren Bell after a late £30,000 bid was made for the 22-year-old, while Heather Knight headed for Royal Challengers Bangalore after an opening bid of £40,000.
England captain Heather Knight said the inaugural Women’s Premier League auction was a ‘slight distraction’ heading into the T20 World Cup.
England all-rounder Alice Capsey will join the Delhi Capitals after being sold for £75,000, while 20-year-old bowler Issy Wong will join the Indians alongside Nat Sciver-Brunt for £30,000.
The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) received 1,525 applications for the tournament – the equivalent of the Indian Premier League for men – with 246 Indians and 163 foreign players making the shortlist.
90 slots were available in the five franchises, with 30 spaces reserved for foreign players – six per franchise. Each team had around £1.2 million to spend to form their squads of 15-18 players, with the most sought-after players earning six-figure deals.
Big year of cricket on Sky Sports
The announcement of the WPL follows news earlier this week that the men’s white-ball tour in Bangladesh will be live on Sky Sports this month.
The agreement further confirms Sky’s place as the home of international cricket in the UK and Ireland, with 2023 a huge year for cricket on Sky Sports.
Following on from the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, Sky Sports will see the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, the men’s Ashes Tests and the women’s Ashes in multiple formats – including a five-day test match – plus England’s men who face South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand will receive. , England Women vs Sri Lanka, The Hundred, The Blast and many more.