Women’s cricket: When will Team India return to the sector?

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September 2020: England performed a five-match Twenty20 International (T20I) collection in opposition to the West Indies.

September-October 2020: Australia hosted New Zealand for 3 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20Is every.

January 2021: South Africa performed three ODIs and three T20Is at house in opposition to Pakistan.

February 2021: Zimbabwe featured in an ODI in opposition to Pakistan.

But for the ladies cricketers from India, it has been a protracted wait!

Even although they performed three Twenty20 exhibition matches — the Women’s T20 Challenge in Sharjah in the course of the Indian Premier League in November — the nation’s girls cricketers haven’t had any worldwide or home assignments since March final 12 months. While the senior males’s crew travelled to Australia for a full-fledged collection and is presently enjoying a house collection in opposition to England, the home cricketers featured within the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in January.

But India’s girls cricketers can solely hope their time will come quickly.
 

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been making an attempt to start out the home event for ladies cricketers and likewise resume worldwide cricket by inviting South Africa for a house collection within the first week of March.

“We are working on a bilateral series. But we have to wait for the series to be finalised,” says BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal. “Last year was difficult for everyone because of Covid-19 and we have to begin from somewhere. We started with the Mushtaq Ali Trophy followed by the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and we plan to start bilateral cricket for the women’s team. But we also need to see how conditions are in those countries, and depending on that we have to take a call. All the details are being worked out.”

The collection was to start from March 7 in Thiruvananthapuram, however the Kerala Cricket Association informed the BCCI that it will not be capable of host the event. “The stadium authorities have allocated the ground for an army recruitment rally at the same time. I requested the state chief secretary if they could shift the army rally to some other grounds, but that was not possible,” KCA chief Sajan Varghese says.

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With no official communication from the BCCI but, the gamers have independently began coaching to maintain themselves prepared for assignments. While Jhulan Goswami underwent a rehabilitation course of on the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, some senior cricketers — together with Mithali Raj and Poonam Yadav — had been in Bengaluru for the Railways camp.

“At least we have something to look forward to. We did not have any competitive cricket since last year, so it is important to at least start from somewhere,” Yadav says. “We have been reading reports that there could be a series against South Africa. But so far there has been no communication. It would be great if that happens,” says the spinner.

Individual efforts

Even although the BCCI has moved at a snail’s tempo to renew girls’s cricket, some state associations and people have taken initiatives to no less than get the ball rolling. The state models of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Bengal and Odisha have began conducting T20 tournaments and camps for ladies, whereas within the first week of January, an array of Indian cricketers — together with Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy and Deepti Sharma — featured within the Nippon Cup, a club-level event organised to have a good time the golden jubilee of the Falcon Sports Club in Bengaluru.

“At least we have something to look forward to. We did not have any competitive cricket since last year, so it is important to at least start from somewhere,” says spinner Poonam Yadav, who was in Bengaluru for a Railways camp.   –  Sportzpics / BCCI

 

The event, which was organised by former India captain and BCCI Apex Council member Shantha Rangaswamy and noticed the participation of 4 groups, certainly was the primary of the 12 months to function a few of India’s prime cricketers.

“As a cricketer, you want to go out there and play matches. You have been practising so much, so this tournament was a blessing for us as we all wanted to play matches, and the kind of quality and standard that was there was really good. It was better than domestic tournaments because you had India players joining in and also the current Karnataka players,” says Rodrigues.

Back within the groove

Rodrigues needed to journey to Bengaluru from Mumbai for the event, however she was pleased to be again on the sector after a hiatus. “For any batter, it always feels good to go out there and score runs. For me, this tournament was a confidence boost as I was playing games after so long. So, you kind of get a bit nervous. We usually have domestic or international games going on, but this was a confidence boost. That helped me. Every game teaches you something or the other, and even youngsters learned a lot since the international players were part of the team. They were getting a chance to play and interact with the Indian cricketers. It was good for everyone to get back to the groove,” she stated.

 

While Rodrigues was one of many fortunate few to have featured in a event, Yadav needed to be content material with simply native matches. After getting back from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after the Women’s T20 Challenge, the India spinner might solely function in native membership video games in Agra. With no main tournaments occurring and no readability from the BCCI on the season, she would journey to close by areas to “get some match practice.”

“In Agra, there are quite a few cricketers and we have basic infrastructure. So, I decided to feature in a few local tournaments in a bid to stay in the game. Obviously, it is not easy to return to action after so long. But at least those tournaments gave me some confidence,” Yadav says.

Itching to get again

When the gamers travelled to the UAE for the Women’s T20 Challenge, they hoped issues would enhance quickly, however they continue to be fairly the identical 4 months on.

While Rodrigues now trains along with her father and coach Ivan in Mumbai, her colleagues too are retaining themselves slot in varied elements of the nation.

“Somewhere you need some motivation to practise. Initially, you can do it, but after a while you are like, ‘Why am I practising so much when we don’t know when are the next matches?’ It has been so long since we played international games. Just watching the men go out there and play, somewhere you feel that when will our turn come and when will women’s international cricket start? When will we go out and play?” she wonders.

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While there are disappointments, the batter hopes that the collection in opposition to South Africa goes forward. “It has been a mixture of emotions where you are excited to go out and play. Somewhere you will need some motivation and that head space to go out there. We can’t wait to get back and we have heard that there is a South Africa series, so we are really looking forward to that,” the teen stated, hoping the ladies lastly get a chance to return to motion.

From reaching the ultimate of the T20 World Cup on the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March final 12 months to having no readability on the long run, the final 12 months have been difficult for ladies cricketers. But they aren’t dropping hope.

 

“As cricketers, we just want to go out there and play. How long can you sit and wait?” Yadav asks.

Over the previous couple of months, there have solely been verbal assurances by the BCCI officers that they’d take all measures to renew home and bilateral cricket for the ladies cricketers of the nation. However, issues haven’t actually moved a lot thus far, resulting in questions on whether or not the BCCI actually has sufficient time to spare for ladies’s cricket.

(An replace on South Africa’s tour of India arrived after this piece was revealed)



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