cricket:image:1427531 [900x506]
cricket:image:1427531 [900x506] (Credit: Cricket Association of Bengal)

The Cricket Association of Bengal [CAB] has announced the launch of the Bengal Pro T20 tournament, with a men's event and a women's event, in June this year.

If and when it gets off the ground, the women's event will be the first full-fledged women's franchise T20 tournament in India to be run by an association. There is the BCCI's Women's Premier League [WPL], of course, and there have been women's exhibition T20 matches slotted around the men's T20 leagues in Karnataka and Maharashtra, but not something along the lines of the many men's tournaments in the country.

Snehasish Ganguly, the president of CAB, provided the basic details of the two leagues at a press meet at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday, which are as follows:

The tournament will take place over a 21-day window in June, with eight teams in both the men's and women's eventsMen's teams will have 17 players, and women's teams will have 16 players, and all the players have to be from Bengal, as must be the coachesThe men's matches will be held at Eden Gardens, and the women's at the Jadavpur University ground, which is also a regular venue for senior domestic gamesEvery day is a double-header day: women's matches will be held in the morning and the afternoon; men's matches will be held in the afternoon and the eveningAll rules, including in matters of corruption, will be based on those in use in the IPL

"All the eight teams will be franchises-owned, which will be a first [in India for a state association-run tournament]. We have still not finalised the franchises, which will be announced at a later date," Ganguly said. "The teams will be completely owned by franchises and all players will be paid as per the salary cap. CAB will not incur any expense for the league."

PTI reported that CAB has been in talks with Kolkata Knight Riders, the group that owns Lucknow Super Giants, Bandhan Bank, Shrachi Group, and Rashmi Cement, among others to own the teams.

"For long, there had been criticism that Bengal cricketers were not getting opportunities like the ones from Tamil Nadu or Karnataka," Ganguly said. "This will be the answer to it. Bengal has a lot of talent but they did not have a proper platform till now. This will be a perfect launch pad for them."

It is understood that the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association [TNCA] has also been planning a women's T20 league along the lines of their men's Tamil Nadu Premier League, but it is understood that it will not get off the ground this year.