In a further blow to the Indian women’s cricket team that has not played international cricket in over 11 months, a proposed home series against South Africa was left in doubts after the Kerala Cricket Association wrote to the governing body saying that they will not be able to host matches.

The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru has emerged as the front-runner to host the eight-match limited overs series to be held in March.

Multiple news outlets had reported that a potential series against South Africa was being planned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to be played in a bio-secure bubble at the Greenfield Sports Hub Stadium in Karyavattom, Thiruvanthapuram. They reportedly had secured government permission as well.

It should be noted that there was no official confirmation from BCCI or Cricket South Africa about the same.

However, in a release according to Women’s CricZone, KCA president Sajan Varghese and secretary Sreejith Nair said that the stadium authorities have allocated the ground for an army recruitment rally which will clash with the scheduled series and did not inform the association which prompted them to withdraw host the series.

“IL & FS did not even inform us while booking the stadium on dates clashing with the women’s series. It is a violation of our MoU with them. We have written to the BCCI expressing our inability to host the games,” Nair told PTI.

KCA has an agreement with the owners to manage the ground.

A look at international cricket played since the India women’s team last stepped on the field

In the statement, which is in Malayalam and translated by the website, the state association has also written to BCCI about their decision to withdraw from the maintenance and caretaking of the stadium.

“KCA had the full support of the Kerala government and the Sports Minister, but schedule clash became the hurdle in hosting the matches. If the state government doesn’t intervene, the Greenfield Stadium will soon become unusable,” the state officials are quoted as saying.

In the wake of KCA’s withdrawal, the BCCI is looking at Bengaluru as an alternate option.

“Bengaluru is a good option but again with the Covid-19 still very much around, we are dependent on government permission and the logistics too need to be worked out. We are still targeting the first week of March to start the series,” a BCCI source told PTI.

Since the series will have to be played in a bio-bubble, the team needs to assemble at least two weeks before the first game with six days reserved for quarantine.

“The players have been training at their respective centres but of course they will need at least 10 days to train together before the series. They have been away from the game for a long time now,” the source added.

The BCCI has already hosted men’s domestic cricket matches at various venues across the country and the Test series against England is also underway in Chennai before moving to Ahmedabad and then Pune, all in biosecure bubbles.

Meanwhile, the women’s team has not played international cricket since the T20 World Cup final in March last year. Their only outing since that final was during the exhibition Women’s T20 Challenge in Sharjah in November last.