One-third of the IPL is done and dusted but still, there are no latest developments on Women’s T20 Challenge, also referred to as Women’s IPL. As per the latest report of the Times of India (TOI) which was released on April 12, the Women’s T20 Challenge is likely to be a three-team affair and will be played in Delhi. With this, it is quite clear that the chances of having the fourth team in the tournament are almost zilch. The same three teams; Velocity, Trailblazers and Supernovas will participate in the T20 league, which is in its fourth year.
Foreign Players in Women’s T20 Challenge 2021?
Another concern is whether the foreign players will come to India to play in the tournament. The aforementioned TOI release stated that the BCCI has been in talks with Australian and English cricket Boards with respect to making their players available for the competition. Typically there are four overseas players in every team and 11 Indian cricketers. A total of 45 players are a part of the league.
There has been no official announcement made by BCCI pertaining to the squad, schedule of the tournament. Also, sources in the know have confirmed of the logistical challenges that we now face to fly foreign cricketers from England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and West Indies.
“With various countries imposing travel restrictions to India, it definitely looks impossible for now to fly in the players. So at this point, things look difficult,” the source said to Sportstar.
When asked, Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) officials confirmed to Sportstar on Tuesday that they have not heard anything about the tournament so far.
Last year, when the COVID-19 situation was bad in India and in major parts of the world, the Women’s T20 Challenge was shifted to Sharjah. It was played between November 4 and November 9, alongside the IPL matches. This year as well the pandemic situation is no different. But with IPL played being in India, the BCCI is confident of staging the Women’s T20 Challenge in the country.
Will Delhi play a host this year to the Women’s T20 Challenge?
With the IPL final being played on May 30, the BCCI and other concerned authorities have less than a month to plan for the Women’s T20 Challenge. Is such a short time period enough to conduct an international level tournament like the Women’s T20 Challenge?
It was earlier known that Delhi is going to be the venue for the Women’s T20 Challenge. So, it is possible that the tournament will be played after the Delhi-leg of IPL which is between April 28 and May 8, and alongside the IPL play-offs which are between May 25 and May 28. If the last week of May is the window that the BCCI is looking at then there is seldom any doubt that it is a race against time. The quarantine period, bio-bubble, and other logistics will have to be managed well before the start in order to ensure players’ safety.
A positive that helps the cause of the Women’s T20 Challenge is that the IPL has started well with no hiccups so far. Though there are instances of players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, and Liam Livingstone returning back home to their families, amid the rising COVID-19 cases in India, the majority of players are still there playing the tournament.
Taking cognizance of the present conditions, one question that still haunts the women’s cricket fans and the players is “Will there be a Women’s T20 Challenge this year?”
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.