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Indian women's cricket league aims to hit big at home and beyond

Professional competition follows in steps of massively popular men's tournament

With the money involved and its strong potential for growth, India's Women's Premier League is set to become instantly powerful within cricket. (Source photos from screenshot of WPL's website and AFP/Jiji)

LONDON -- Sports fans in India will have something new to shout about this weekend as a high-profile women's cricket competition launches in the country, marking a milestone in the evolution of the game and sparking fresh opportunities for big business.

The Women's Premier League (WPL) is following in the steps of the hugely popular male version of the contest in the cricket-mad nation, with handsome paychecks luring some of the world's top players to test their mettle over a three-week competition that is set to become an annual fixture on the sporting calendar.

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