BCCI Set To Revive Women’s Multi-Day Red-Ball Games

From the Women’s Premier League (WPL) to pay parity and the expansion of women’s domestic cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been the gift that keeps giving to women’s cricket. Continuing to enrich the landscape of women’s cricket in the country, the BCCI is now poised to revive a tournament that has been eagerly awaited, particularly in recent times.

BCCI Set To Revive Women's Multi-Day Red-Ball Games
BCCI Set To Revive Women’s Multi-Day Red-Ball Games. PC: Getty

The senior national women’s team recently secured decisive Test victories against both England and Australia within a span of two weeks. In response to ‘what next?,’ the BCCI pencils its plan to reintroduce multi-day women’s red-ball games, discontinued after the 2017/18 season. The wait won’t be prolonged, as the tournament could be underway post the 2nd edition of the WPL in March.

Time and again, numerous former and current cricketers, including Shantha Rangaswamy, Diana Edulji, Mithali Raj, and Harmanpreet Kaur, have voiced their support for the reintroduction of a domestic red-ball tournament for women. While women’s Test cricket has been infrequent on the calendar, the remarkable growth of the women’s game is sparking discussions about the revival of women’s Tests globally.

In the past, the BCCI organized the Senior Women’s Cricket Inter Zonal Three-Day tournament. The revival plan entails bringing back red-ball games in a zonal format this season, with potential expansion into a comprehensive tournament. Zonal selectors will be responsible for selecting the squad, and a three-day league tournament will be conducted, culminating in a four-day final.

Quoting the BCCI source from the Indian Express report, “It will be a three-day tournament to start with. Due to the constraint of time we are thinking of starting with a zonal format initially. The tournament will be concluded in the month of March-April. We don’t have red ball cricket for the women’s team (currently) and the BCCI felt it’s time to start day’s cricket as well as domestic cricket for womens.”

The BCCI initiated multi-day red-ball games in the 2014-15 season, starting as a two-day competition. Subsequent editions in 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 extended the format to three days. This five-team points-based tournament included the Central Zone, East Zone, North Zone, South Zone, and West Zone. Central Zone proved to be the most successful, clinching victory in the first three editions, while North Zone secured the title in the 2017-18 edition.

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The BCCI recently integrated the ‘Senior Women’s One-Day Inter Zonal Trophy’ into the ongoing 2023/24 domestic fixtures. This strategic move appears aligned to identify the most skilled long-format white-ball players for the red-ball competition. It’ll be a challenge for the top One-Day Zonal players to make a successful transition into the realm of red-ball cricket.

(Inputs sourced from The Indian Express)

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