It has been three years now. India team lost the ICC Women’s World Cup Final in 2017 from a comfortable position to England. Amidst the heartbreak, Indian skipper Mithali Raj said though they have lost the final, she hoped that this incredible journey of India Team will change the outlook towards women’s cricket. The Indian team got a hero’s welcome at Mumbai Airport. It was quite in contrast to the time when they had left for England as very few people took women cricket seriously as spectacle back then.
Now if we look at the performances of the India team in these three years, India has done reasonably well in the world stage. They have qualified for the semifinal and final of the ICC T20 World Cup in 2018 and 2020 respectively. Though they choked in both the knockouts that don’t undermine their efforts in the group stage where they were invincible.
Out of the 11 matches they played, they won 8 lost 2 and one matches were abandoned, taking the Win/lose ratio to 4:1. India’s unbeaten streak was broken by Bangladesh when they defeated India in the Final of 2018 Asia Cup. India team defeated South Africa 4-0 in T-20 series followed by a clean sweep against West Indies in their own backward. Shafali Verma, the new sensation of Indian team emerged from this series.
Performance of India Team in T20I Matches after 2017 World Cups:
|World Cup (Neutral)||11||8||2||1|
|Asia Cup (Neutral)||6||4||2||0|
|Tri-Nation Series (India -Aus-Eng) (Home)||4||1||3||0|
|Tri-Nation series (India-Aus-Eng) (Away)||5||2||3||0|
|vs South Africa (Home and Away)||9||6||2||1|
|vs New Zealand (Away)||3||0||3||0|
|vs Srilanka (Home)||5||4||0||1|
|vs West Indies (Away)||5||5||0||0|
|vs England (Home)||3||0||3||0|
To make bilateral series more impactful ICC has devised a plan which asked all the 8 teams to play against each other in a span of 3 years. Each series consists of 3 ODI matches and each match has been awarded 2 points. The Best 4 team excluding the host country will directly qualify for the World Cup.
Out of 18 matches in ICC Women’s Championship, India team won 10. Barring Australia (lost by 0-3) India defeated all the teams like England (home) and South Africa (away) and New Zealand (away). Smriti Mandhana has scored the highest individual run in this edition while amassing 911 runs with an average of 65.07, the highest among all.
|vs Australia (H)||3||0||3||0|
|vs England (H)||6||4||2||0|
|vs New Zealand (A)||3||2||1||0|
|v West Indies (A)||3||2||1||0|
|vs Srilanka (A)||3||2||1||0|
|vs South Africa (H+A)||6||5||1||0|
However, India was scheduled to host Pakistan in August last year. This bilateral series was crucial for India towards their qualification. BCCI citing the turmoil in the political relations between the two countries failed to host the series. It would be worth remembering that in the previous edition to BCCI didn’t agree to send Indian Women cricketers to Pakistan or any Neutral venue for the bilateral series.
ICC then awarded full 6 points of the series to Pakistan and India’s qualification dream was shattered. But this time, ICC divided the point, despite the from Indian board which ensured India’s qualification for the World Cup in 2021. In March 2020, India had completed their tour to Australia. They qualified for the finals in Tri-series and World Cup but lost to Australia in both the cases.
As the cricketers were gearing up for the domestic tournament the pandemic broke out. The doors were getting closed and sporting extravaganzas got cancelled one after another. India was scheduled to tour England for 3 ODI’s and 4 T20’s in late June. However, that was getting postponed due to the Covid-19. As the situation got better in England, ECB asked the Indian and South African board to play a tri-nation series.
The Indian board agreed initially. But in the recent turn of event India, which is highly affected by this pandemic, cited the worsening situation to cancel the tour. This decision has raised questions among the followers of India Women cricket. If one of the reasons for cancelling the tour is Covid-19 another reason may have been the cost of the tour.
With this situation in India, BCCI would have to send the India team earlier than expected due to the restrictions regarding quarantine. And that would have increased the cost of the tour. But, none of these issues seems genuine. England is now hosting West Indies and scheduled to host Pakistan in Men’s cricket. They have made adequate preparation so that players don’t get hit by the pandemic.
ECB was even ready to bear the costs of the team from the moment they land on the English soil. They were ready to provide the chartered aeroplane if required. But in vain. World Cup is scheduled to start in February 2021 in New Zealand and with this series is cancelled India team will not get many chances to prepare.
The second thing in line is that BCCI has confirmed that UAE will host this year’s IPL. The conformation of money-making giant cricket league came just after ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was pushed to 2021. In 2018, IPL governing council hosted a lone match between two teams comprised of greats of women cricket. A year later, though the number of the teams increased by one, Australia, the number one ranked team didn’t send their players because of the ongoing tussle between two boards regarding the men’s series.
So again the women’s cricket was sent before the firing squad. This year, it was assumed that the number of the team will increase once again in the Women’s T20 Challenge. But under the present circumstances, there was no news of that even after the confirmation of IPL. IPL is scheduled to take place between September 19 and November 8. On the other hand WBBL, the most prominent Women’s Cricket League nowadays will take place between October and November.
So even if the Women’s T20 Challenge takes place after the governing council meeting, the uncertainty regarding the viability of the overseas player still remains. Moreover, the Indian women cricket team at the present moment is without any chief selector and selector panel. According to a Mumbai Mirror report, the BCCI had put out an advertisement for the appointment of a new panel along with the men’s senior and junior selectors in January.
While the panels were filled, no appointments were made for the women’s team. Now one can ask that COVID-19 cases in India are rising at an alarming rate, making it difficult to get of homes. People are dying and the pandemic has destroyed the livelihood for many. In this context, the loss of another international cricket series is insignificant. The Olympics itself was postponed, so why mourn a single, tri-nation cricket tour?
Why shed tears over a tour that is so hard to pull off in the first place? To them, my reply – it is not about a single tour but it’s about how you treat a certain section of people who is also the part of the game with a capital G. Moreover it’s not that the India team is not under preforming as it is visible from tables stated. If it is possible to organize a two-month-long tournament without any logistical glitches (they are expecting so) then why Women’s Cricket will be the victim always?