IPL may not feature Women's T20 matches

Many believe women's cricket has been sidelined by Ganguly and Shah-led BCCI
IPL may not feature Women's T20 matches
IPL may not feature Women's T20 matches

ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS With Board of Control for cricket in India focusing all its energies on ensuring the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 gets organised and its elected office bearers get an extension from the Supreme Court to complete their three year tenure, most other cricket related decisions have been put on the back-burner. Its no secret that women's cricket has been pushed to the bottom of the pecking order in the last few months.

The broad feeling amongst women players past and present is that not naming the new women's selection committee, cancellation of the senior women's tour to England, silence on the roadmap for resumption of training for women cricketers and announcing roadmap ahead of the ICC Women's World Cup early next year in New Zealand have sent a message of low priority to women's game by the Sourav Ganguly-led BCCI.

The issue regarding the selection committee astoundingly has to do with cost cutting. Why have selectors if there is no cricket being played or teams being selected is the logic being thrown about by officials. "It looks like this definitely ," said a disappointed former Indian cricketer. "They should have named the selection panel two months back but they haven't. Hopefully it should happen in the near future,"she said."Like most things in this country, even women's cricket is just an afterthought for BCCI is what comes out of the whole thing."

Understands that BCCI president Sourav Gnguly has mentioned in the last Apex Council meeting that the Women's World Cup (WC) is going ahead in New Zealand as per schedule. The ICC while postponing the the Men's Twenty20 WC earlier this week had stated planning for the Women's WC continues as per schedule and will continue to evaluate the situation.

The Apex Council has met four times since Ganguly and Jay Sah took charge last year in October. Barring initial meeting where a discussion to increase the number of teams in the 2020 IPL was discussed briefly (on the basis IPL was to be held in India itself), women's cricket has not featured in the discussions thereafter. Reportedly the last two meetings were more about urgent matters on the table arising out of COVID 19 situation.

Cricket has come to a complete halt due to he spread of COVID 19 since March. Despite unlocking and resumption of other sports activities the BCCI has not been able to convene a camp for both men and women centrally contracted players even as other countries gradually resumed training.

For women this becomes even more of an issue in case the WC does happen on time. The cancellation of the tour to England has only added to the disappointment as most women cricketers former and present feel the BCCI could have arranged for a camp in UK as well as mandatory quarantine time for women. "Ït is sad, women couldn't go to England, they could have undergone quarantine there, the BCCI can afford it, right?," said another very senior former player.

The BCCI has been preparing plans for IPL to be played in UAE and awaiting the central government's nod for the same which is likely to come through. The previous few editions of IPL have had women's T20 challenge also played simultaneously in a bid to popularise women's cricket at home and prepare the foundation for a full women's IPL in near future. However it is not certain that the forthcoming season of IPL will feature women's matches. The issue will be discussed in the IPL's Governing Council meeting next week.

IPL officials blame the delay in postponement of the T20 WC by ICC for women's matches possibly not happening. "The window for IPL is from September 19 to November 8 in UAE. This is clashing with the women's Big Bash League and top players may not be available," said IPL GC chairman Brijesh Patel to "Had ICC announced the T20 WC postponed earlier we could have spoken with other boards and discussed a window for women's matches."

This is another blow for Women's cricket. Right now however, with BCCI looking at its "losses"and reducing those, women's cricket is the least important on the agenda. Holding the IPL is set to erase some financial pain it has felt in the ;last four months due to cancellation of tours and series.

The resignation of Saba Karim as General Manager (cricket operations) too has added to the woes of women's cricket in a way. Karim's brief included women's cricket. However there were issues between women cricketers, selectors and Karim. The selectors had also allegedly complained against him, citing his brusque behavior towards women cricketers.

The players and selectors etc are keen on a dedicated point person for women's game. Someone who understands and will also resolve issues quickly than make them wait for a hearing. This however seems to be a distant dream for the Indian women cricketers, as much as resuming training or even playing competitive cricket.

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