Sky Sports has agreed a deal to show the inaugural Women’s Premier League, the women’s version of the Indian Premier League (IPL), with coverage on Sky Sports Cricket starting with the opening fixture this Saturday.
The inaugural league runs across 22 days in March and features five city-based teams in a franchise T20 competition: Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Lucknow.
Every team plays the other four twice in a round-robin group stage, with the top three progressing to the play-off stage. The league winners automatically reach the final, with the second and third-place teams competing in an eliminator to decide who else feature in the season-ender 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 feature in the new competition.
Who else will feature in the Women’s Premier League?
Australia all-rounder Ash Gardner was sold for £320,000 to the Giants, while the highest price so far has been commanded by India’s Smriti Mandhana, who was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for £340,000, while her international team-mate Deepti Sharma was bought by UP Warrirorz for £259,000.
Ecclestone will be joined at the Warriorz by fast bowler and England team-mate Lauren Bell after a late bid was put in for the 22-year-old of £30,000, with Heather Knight heading to Royal Challengers Bangalore after an opening bid of £40,000.
England all-rounder Alice Capsey heads to the Delhi Capitals after being sold for £75,000, while 20-year-old bowler Issy Wong heads to 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 men’s Indian Premier League – with 246 Indians and 163 overseas players reaching the shortlist.
Across the five franchises, 90 slots were available, with 30 places reserved for overseas players – six per franchise. Each team had roughly £1.2m to spend to form their 15-18 player squads, 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 in the week that England men’s white-ball tour of Bangladesh will be live this month on Sky Sports.
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 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, men’s Ashes Tests and the multi-format women’s Ashes – including a five-day Test match – plus England’s men hosting South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand, England Women versus Sri Lanka, The Hundred, The Blast and much more.