LONDON • India captain Mithali Raj said now was the time to "create the base" of a female equivalent to the Indian Premier League (IPL), after her side's hopes of Women's World Cup final glory were snatched away by England at Lord's.
Raj's side looked on course to lift the trophy for the first time at 191 for three, chasing 229 for victory, in Sunday's final at the "home of cricket".
But on the same Lord's ground where India's men had won an inaugural Cricket World Cup back in 1983, they lost their last seven wickets for just 28 runs to be bowled out for 219 with eight balls to spare.
England pace bowler Anya Shrubsole starred with a late burst of five wickets for 11 runs in 19 deliveries. Her match haul of six for 46 was also the best individual return in any Women's World Cup final.
Pressure got to India in the end, but the 34-year-old Raj, who later confirmed this has been her last World Cup appearance, said that would be less likely to happen if they had a tournament to match Australia's Twenty20 Women's Big Bash League or the English equivalent, the Women's Cricket Super League.
"Everybody was very nervous and I think that resulted in our (late) defeat," Raj, the all-time leading run-scorer in women's one-day internationals, said after the World Cup final.
England's women have been full-time professionals for some two years now, with Raj's side still on their way - although the squad did receive bonus payments of 50 lakh Indian rupees (S$105,628) each for reaching the final from the country's cricket governing body, the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
"These girls have really set the platform for the coming (cricket) generations in India," said Raj.
"They've opened up the channels for women's cricket and they should be really proud. I have seen the changes the girls have made."
The skipper added that her side had established a solid foundation for women's cricket in India, the sport's financial superpower.
"A team like that has come to the final and given a good fight to the home team," she said.
"If more girls participate in such leagues, it will give them experience and help them to improve their own game.
"If you ask me, they should have (women's) IPL because now is the right time to create that base."