India aims to launch a women's version of its hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament in the next three years, a senior official said Tuesday.
As part of the build-up, top international women players will take part in a Twenty20 game at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium next week.
"We are planning to get a women's IPL in place in two to three years," Board of Control for Cricket in India administrator Vinod Rai told AFP.
No firm details of the new league have yet been revealed, but pressure for a women's IPL has been building since India reached the final of the women's World Cup in England last year.
England's Danni Wyatt, Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry and New Zealand captain Suzie Bates are some of the names confirmed for the May 22 exhibition game.
Top Indians including national skipper Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Harmanpreet Kaur will compete in an Indian team under IPL rules in the exhibition.
"The match to be played between a BCCI XI and IPL XI will take place ahead of the first (men's IPL) playoff at the Wankhede Stadium," Rai said.
Also signed up are wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney from Australia, and Kiwi batter Sophie Devine, who holds the record for the fastest half-century in women's T20Is.
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said: "Even as the IPL continues to roll like a well-oiled machine, over the last couple of weeks efforts were made to put in place a similar structure for women cricketers.
"We were in talks with several boards and I am pleased with the outcome."