Cricket-India captain Harmanpreet calls for women's IPL

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Women's Cricket World Cup Final Preview - India Nets & Press Conference - London, Britain - July 22, 2017 India's Harmanpreet Kaur during nets Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

(Reuters) - India's Twenty20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur called for a women's Indian Premier League (IPL) competition after India lost a close Twenty20 International contest to Australia at the Carrara Oval on Saturday.

In the second T20 of the three-match series, hosts Australian claimed a thrilling four-wicket win at the Carrara Oval courtesy of an unbeaten 42 from Tahlia McGrath, two days after the series opener was washed out.

Harmanpreet credited the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), the domestic T20 competition in Australia, for the national team's success, and alluded to the growth of the Indian men's side thanks to the IPL.

A three-team Women's T20 Challenge tournament, held in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates in 2020 alongside the rescheduled men's IPL, has not taken place this year.

"If you look at the way Tahlia McGrath batted today, we can see the confidence they are getting from a tournament like WBBL... She has not played much in international cricket but got to play many matches before playing for Australia," Harmanpreet said.

"Ever since (the men's team) got a platform like the IPL, young male talents competing at the international level show maturity in their performance because they carry with them the tag of 40-50 IPL games, where they may have played very good cricket, even winning their sides matches.

"I think that is the only reason we are lacking right now. If we get the opportunity to play domestic cricket at a good level before playing such international games, we will definitely improve as a team."

Australia and India will meet for the third T20 at the same venue on Sunday.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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