Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney will join a host of the world’s best players in a one-off women’s Indian Premier League exhibition match in Mumbai next week.
The Women’s T20 Challenge match will be played ahead of the first IPL qualifier at Wankhede Stadium next Tuesday, May 22, with eight internationals to join local players in two XIs skippered by India stars Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana.
Also on board are England pair Danielle Wyatt and Danielle Hazell and New Zealand guns Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine.
The match will mirror the IPL, with the playing XIs made up of seven Indians and four overseas players.
The Australian quartet will hope to continue the success they found on the subcontinent earlier this year, when Schutt became the first Australian to take a T20I hattrick and Healy scored her maiden international century.
The Southern Stars whitewashed their hosts in the ODIs before emerging triumphant in the T20 tri-series that also featured England.
The women’s game has rapidly grown in popularity in India since the national team’s appearance in last year’s Women’s World Cup final at Lord’s.
The T20 Challenge is a tentative step towards a women’s IPL, which the Board of Control for Cricket in India hopes to introduce in the next two to three years.
It would follow in the footsteps of Australia’s Rebel Women’s Big Bash League, which was introduced in 2015, and England’s Super League, launched in 2016.
“We are excited to announce the first-of-its-kind exhibition match involving our women cricketers,” BCCI committee member Diana Edulji said.
“BCCI has been pulling out all stops to promote and nurture women’s cricket and this is a small yet significant step towards a prospective league involving women’s stars in the future.
“The IPL is the biggest and most popular league in the world and it has been a long-time endeavour to have a women’s league that can match the exuberance of IPL.
“Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Veda Krishnamurthy among others rubbing shoulders with foreign stars will be a unique experience and something that we have not witnessed here in India.”
The Australian national squad have since enjoyed a break from cricket since returning from India and will come together in Brisbane for a camp at the end of the month as they begin very early preparations for a busy 2018-19 summer.
Australia are set to play T20I and ODI series against New Zealand before an away tour against Pakistan in October and then November’s World T20 in the Caribbean.