The BCCI has withdrawn the name from taking part in the tri-series in England which left many in surprise. However, Apex Council member Shantha Rangaswamy backed the decision, saying that it is not a fact of negligence but the board’s commitment towards the team amid this crunch time of COVID-19 outbreak.
The BCCI‘s decision to not send the side for the tri-series involving England and South Africa has raised a few eyebrows since they are all set to host the IPL in the UAE in September-November. But former captain Rangaswamy has rejected all the criticism.
“It is not a case of neglect. You need at least six weeks to be match fit and with the COVID-19 affecting most part of the country, is it possible to organise a training camp right away? Then you would also have 14-day quarantine England,” she told PTI.
Along with the tri-series, the exhibition matches that take place during the IPL are unlikely to be played this year which led the view that the board is not too serious about women’s cricket. With the ICC Cricket World Cup is around the corner which will be played in New Zealand in February-March next year, India may not get enough game time to prepare before the marquee event.
“There was just not enough time to make it happen. COVID-19 has hurt world cricket, more so women’s cricket. We have gone back a couple of years after a record attendance for the T20 World Cup final at MCG in March. It is sad and an anti-climax,” said Shantha Rangaswamy.
Moreover, this year’s IPL (September 19-November 8) will clash with the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia where a couple of Indian players take part. Since the league will happen in the UAE, the women’s exhibition games during the IPL play-offs is unlikely to take place.
“It looks like even nature is conspiring against women’s cricket. Last year, a third team was added to the IPL Women’s Challenge, this year it was supposed to be four. “Now the shift of venue, more importantly, it is clashing with the Women’s Big Bash, which was already scheduled. Let’s see what the IPL Governing Council decides,” said Rangaswamy. “Going to England was more important than the IPL exhibition games. England tour would have been ideal preparation for the World Cup.”
The case becomes worse with the empty selection panel and no tour lined-up. The increasing popularity and improvement over the last three years would certainly halt owing to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. However, Shantha Rangaswamy said that the BCCI’s commitment towards the women’s cricket should not be judged seeing the current situation.
“The post COVID-19 scenario will be a testimony to their commitment on women’s cricket. People doubting BCCI’s intentions will have to wait for things to be normal before passing their judgement. The situation was not in their control on this occasion. The late announcement on the men’s T20 World Cup postponement has also also given the BCCI little time to prepare for the IPL,” she concluded.