Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Sunday said that a separate event, along the lines of Women’s T20 Challenge held in 2019, is very much on with a tournament planned in November in the United Arab Emirates alongside the men’s event, reported PTI.
Ganguly, whose tenure as Board of Control for Cricket in India president is currently up in the air with a hearing pending in Supreme Court, also said that a camp will be held for the women’s team soon.
The men’s Indian Premier League event is set to be held between September 19 and November 8 or 10 (final date yet to be locked in) in the United Arab Emirates due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in India. The women’s event will also be fit in to the schedule, according to the BCCI chief.
“I can confirm to you that the women’s IPL is very much on and we do have a plan in place for the national team also,” Ganguly told PTI ahead of the IPL Governing Council meeting later on Sunday.
Ganguly also said that the centrally contracted women players will have a camp that has been delayed due to the prevailing situation in the country.
“We couldn’t have exposed any of our cricketers – be it male or female — to health risk. It would have been dangerous,” Ganguly said.
“The NCA also remained shut because of Covid-19. But we have a plan in place and we will have a camp for women, I can tell you that,” he added.
Senior cricket journalist Boria Majumdar said that India are likely to have two full-fledged white-ball series against South Africa and the West Indies before playing the ODI World Cup in New Zealand. The BCCI’s cricket operations team is chalking up a schedule, reported PTI.
In 2019, the Women’s T20 Challenge was expanded from a one-off match before an IPL qualifier in 2018 to a week-long tournament with three teams – Trailblazers, Supernovas and Velocity. There were three group games and a final in the inaugural edition. For 2020, the BCCI had earlier announced that a fourth team was set to be added to the mix.
It is worth noting that the Women’s Big Bash League is to be played from October 17 to November 29 in Australia and will overlap with this proposed IPL-style event in UAE.
Ganguly, who is awaiting a Supreme Court verdict on waiver of the cooling-off period to continue in the position, did not divulge details but another senior official privy to the development said that women’s challenger event will be held during the last phase of IPL like last year.
“The women’s challenger series is likely to be held between November 1-10 and there could be a camp before that,” the source said.
The treatment of women’s cricket in India has been a big talking point in the past fortnight after the team’s September tour to England was cancelled by the Board of Control for Crcket in India without an official reason given. The implication was that it was due to the rising cases of coronavirus in India, which could cause logistical issues.
Before international cricket returns, however, India will need to put together a selection committee. The previous panel helmed by Hemlata Kala finished their tenure earlier this year and while an advertisement inviting applications for new selectors was put up in January, no appointment was made. The process is set to be further delayed because of protocol and the inability to hold face-to-face meetings during the lockdown due to coronavirus.
“The BCCI will start making the appointments [in due course of time] because given there’s no cricket at the moment, and the complete lockdown, and we not being able to go to [the board headquarters in] Mumbai,” Ganguly was earlier quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“It is going to take some time because this needs following of protocol as interviews will need to be taken by a committee as per the BCCI’s new constitution, and this will have to be cleared by them, and it’s very difficult to do it without a face-to-face meeting,” he had added.
Note: It was earlier reported that the women’s event will comprise four teams. But it has been confirmed by the BCCI that only three teams will be participating in the Women’s T20 Challenge. Read details here.
(With PTI inputs)