Rising tide of support for the women's game in India – cricket.com.au

India v Australia T20Is – Women
Packed stadiums and a feverish atmosphere for Australia's five-match T20 tour bode well for next year's launch of a women's IPL
Laura Jolly in Mumbai
21 December 2022, 11:37 AM AEST
Stadium full. Ticket over.
Australia's players were greeted by large, vocal and passionate fans throughout their T20I tour of India, whetting their appetites for the impending debut of a women's Indian Premier League.
All five games were played across two venues in Mumbai, the first time India's women have played in front of home crowds since the start of the pandemic.
It was only on the day of the opening match when a front page advertisement for the series ran in a local paper and billboards featuring teen tyro Shafali Verma appeared alongside motorways and on bus stops throughout the city.
But still more than 25,000 watched the opening match at DY Patil Stadium, before a capacity crowd of more than 47,000 rocked up to the same ground two days later, forcing the gates to be locked before images of stranded fans looking forlornly through the fence beside the now-iconic 'Stadium full. Ticket over' signs went viral.
You read it right. 🇮🇳🇦🇺🏏🔥 India vs Australia, second T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai#INDvAUS | #INDWvAUSW pic.twitter.com/F43bJCHxUQ
Inside the stadium the sound was deafening as India took Australia to a Super Over and then won.
The vibe carried west to Brabourne Stadium, the host for the final three matches, where conservative estimates of 5000 attendees were blown out of the water.
The 10,000 tickets made available for the third game was exhausted in three hours, and when more seating was installed to increase the capacity for the final two matches, they were quickly filled too.
The interest in the series not only bodes well for the multi-format contest – featuring a Test, three ODIs and three T20Is – to be held between India and Australia in December-January 2023-24, but also for the upcoming launch of a women's IPL.
After years of waiting, and four editions of the two, then three-team 'Women's T20 Challenge' played during the men's IPL finals, a women's version is due to arrive in March.
Details, including which franchises have been successful in their bids for field teams, are yet to be confirmed, but it is set to feature five sides playing 22 matches, with the season starting roughly a week after the T20 World Cup final on February 26.
It has also not been confirmed whether an auction or a draft will be held for the top overseas players, but each time one of the Aussie squad members was questioned about their interest throughout the tour, the answer was emphatic in the affirmative.
"I think everyone would (want to play)," Ellyse Perry said during the series.
"(It's going to be) a really pivotal moment in the history of the sport, I think, that's probably been threatening for a number of years now.
"For it to be coming to fruition, I would imagine every female cricketer around the globe would love to be involved in that."
Ashleigh Gardner had only played in front of one bigger crowd than the 47,000 at the second T20 at DY Patil Stadium: the 86,174 who filled the MCG for the 2020 World Cup final.
The sheer noise – all in India's favour – was a new challenge for Australia to handle when in the field this tour, while they found themselves recognised off it more than ever before.
"It was probably the loudest (crowd)," Gardner said of the second T20I.
"I guess that's the best thing about India is the fans are fanatical.
"The (women's) game has obviously grown here in India and that's what we want to see, the game growing globally, not just in in certain countries, so to see the fans coming out to support their players, and even the Australians, is fantastic to see."
Australia's T20I tour of India 
1st T20I: Australia won by 9 wickets
2nd T20I: Match tied (India won the Super Over) 
3rd T20I: Australia won by 21 runs
4th T20I: Australia won by seven runs
5th T20I: Australia won by 54 runs
Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington
India squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh Thakur, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Devika Vaidya, S Meghana, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol 
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