The Board of Control for Cricket in India is likely to stick to three teams for the Women’s T20 Challenge exhibition tournament, usually held during the Indian Premier League play-offs.

The Board had planned to increase the exhibition event to four teams last year but it will continue to be a three-team affair due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the delayed IPL was held in the September-November window last year, the Women’s Challenge clashed with the WBBL, making the Australian players unavailable once again.

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“As of now the plan is to have three teams. A final decision will be taken shortly. There is a good chance that it will be held in Delhi. Talks are on with the leading Australian and England players,” a BCCI official told PTI on Monday.

The last edition, comprising four games, was held in Sharjah as the IPL play-offs took place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The teams were led by Mithali Raj (Velocity), Harmanpreet Kaur (Supernovas), Smriti Mandhana (Trailblazers).

The decision on the event could be taken during BCCI’s Apex Council meeting on April 16, when the appointment of Indian women’s team support staff and its Future Tours Programme will also be discussed.

The Indian players have been short on match practice amid the pandemic. India played their first international series in a year last month when they lost both the ODI and T20 series to the visiting South African team.

Following the loss, the ODI skipper Mithali Raj had said the team will need a proper camp before an international assignment, which was not the case before the South Africa tour due to the logistical hurdles posed by the pandemic.

The series was announced last minute with both teams getting only a handful of training sessions before the opener after completing a week in quarantine.

India are also likely to play their first Test in seven years later in 2021, as announced by BCCI secretary Jay Shah. They are also likely to tour England and Australia as part of their preparation for the ODI World Cup in New Zealand early next year.