Home India Cricket for some, not for all – where does the women’s game stand?

Cricket for some, not for all – where does the women’s game stand?

by cricdca


The series between Austria and Germany marked the return of women’s international cricket in August, but for the top-level nations the game resumes for the first time since March this week with England facing West Indies before Australia play New Zealand. However, while there is light at the end of tunnel for some countries, it is certainly not the same for all in an uncertain landscape. Here’s how things are for the top-10 ranked ODI nations

Australia

Where do things stand?

It became clear just a few days after the historic T20 World Cup final at the MCG how lucky it was that the game was played with sport shutting down less than a week later. The world champions will be back in action for the first time since that heady night when they face New Zealand this weekend (with a small crowd). After that there is the WBBL which will be played entirely in Sydney beginning on October 25. So while it won’t be normal, there should be plenty of cricket.

What’s next?

The first of three T20Is is on September 26 at Allan Border Field in Brisbane which will host all the matches against New Zealand. The tour also includes a three-game ODI series. Internationally after that things remain uncertain; India are due to tour Australia in mid-January although that was originally meant as a lead-in to the World Cup, but there are positive talks about a tri-series in New Zealand during February also involving England.

India

Where do things stand?

Very much in limbo. As Covid continues to rise across India it’s very difficult, or impossible, for the female players to train as a group. The key event on the horizon, although details remains sketchy, is the T20 Challenge that is due to be held in the UAE alongside the IPL playoffs in early November. Since the initial announcement there has not been much further information which has left players nervous. The prospect of a domestic season in India looks bleak at the moment.

What’s next?

India were due to tour England, initially in June, and then there was hope of a tri-series in September also involving South Africa. However, both fell through and the fact that the IPL could be relocated but the women’s tour could not take place – despite much of the cost being borne by the ECB – creating some controversy. They are scheduled to have three ODIs in Australia in mid-January but it remains unclear whether they will go ahead.

England

Where do things stand?

The ECB has moved mountains to ensure the women can get some international cricket this season by hastily arranging for West Indies to head over for five T20Is after visits by India and South Africa couldn’t be made to happen. On the domestic scene, newly-created professional teams have managed to play the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint trophy, while a few players will head off to Australia for the WBBL in a few weeks and others may get a gig at the T20 Challenge.

What’s next?

Alongside the tours by India and South Africa, the launch of the Hundred – the new domestic format – has been pushed back by a year, although the ECB has ensured the salaries, which were considerably lower than the men’s tournament, have been ring-fenced from cuts. For those not getting places either at the WBBL or T20 Challenge, the next action could be a tri-series in New Zealand in February, when the World Cup was due to be held, involving the hosts and Australia.

New Zealand

Where do things stand?

A trip across the Tasman will see them resume international cricket in a few days. The squad has had to undergo two weeks of quarantine in Brisbane, but they have been able to train for a few hours day during that period. After this short tour a number of players will remain in Australia to join WBBL clubs while others will return home (through another period of managed isolation) and prepare for the home summer which include the T20 Super Smash competition.

What’s next?

After the Australia tour it is still to be confirmed but NZC are confident of having women’s international matches during the latter part of the season including a tri-series involving Australia and England. They had been due to host the ODI World Cup next February and March but that has been delayed by a year.

South Africa

Where do things stand?

That’s a loaded question in South African cricket. Things are such a mess that it’s hard to know what the knock-on effect will be on the women’s team. International travel restrictions, which mean that only individual athletes and not full teams could get exemptions, prevented the tour to England taking place so for the some the WBBL will provide a playing lifeline.

What’s next?

South Africa have been hit hard so far with two significant series, hosting Australia and touring England, not taking place. It is also difficult to know what sort of domestic season will take place. The squad has been able to resume training with the lifting of some restrictions and while borders have partially reopened no international sport is yet allowed.

West Indies

Where do things stand?

Cricket West Indies has done a huge amount to help the ECB get a season played, firstly with the Test tour by the men and now arranging the women’s visit at short notice. The players had barely been able to training before leaving the Caribbean but have spent the last three weeks in Derby preparing for the T20I series where they will look to start rebuilding after a very disappointing T20 World Cup.

What’s next?

West Indies would have been part of the World Cup qualifiers in June as they looked to secure a spot at the main event in New Zealand. After the England tour it’s unclear what will follow, although something in West Indies’ favour is the number of Caribbean islands that have managed to keep Covid numbers down. Hayley Matthews has a WBBL deal with the Hobart Hurricanes.

Pakistan

Where do things stand?

There have been positive developments in the women’s game in Pakistan over recent years and the challenge will be ensuring that does not fall by the wayside amid the multitude issues to confront. However, there was the encouraging sign of the PCB offering increased salaries to their centrally contracted players and in August the board also offered a three-month support package to 25 unemployed cricketers outside of the contract system.

What’s next?

Pakistan were one of the teams set to take part at the World Cup qualifiers while there was also due to be a T20 Asia Cup tournament. There is no indication of when they will be able to return to action, although the fact that the PCB are hopeful of staging cricket again over the next few months offers some hope.

Sri Lanka

Where do things stand?

After the T20 World Cup where they gave Australia a fright and beat Bangladesh, it will be a barren year for Sri Lanka with the World Cup Qualifiers postponed. There has been a change of coach with Lanka de Silva taking over until the end of the year although it is unlikely he’ll have any matches to take charge of. With the retirements of Shashikala Siriwardene and Sripali Weerakkody they will need to look to the future when cricket resumes.

What’s next?

They are expected to remain hosts of the qualifiers when they are rescheduled for some time next year and Sri Lanka has an advantage of being a nation to have coped well with Covid-19 which may make it a more practical destination for hosting matches. A few of the players, notably captain Chamari Atapattu, could have their eyes on the T20 Challenge as a chance to get back into the middle.

Bangladesh

Where do things stand?

Huge uncertainty surrounds the game at all levels in Bangladesh with the women’s set-up in danger of being particularly hard hit. The cancellation of domestic cricket has left many without any income. The BCB has offered some financial assistance with two lots of payments: in March it offered grants to all those who had been involved Women’s National Cricket League and in May another payment to all male and female league cricketers.

What’s next?

It is a waiting game. The priority for the BCB is to try and get the men’s international team back into action and work towards a resumption of domestic cricket. It remains highly likely that the women won’t play again this year.

Ireland

Where do things stand?

Ireland’s last international cricket was a year ago during the T20 World Cup qualifiers. Since then they have had a tour to Thailand – part of a quadrangular 50-over series – cancelled along with the ODI World Cup qualifiers. There has, at least, been a small domestic programme during the summer with a two-team Super Cricket Series while there has been additional investment in a new category of retainer contracts below the full deals handed out by Cricket Ireland.

What’s next?

They will be waiting to see when the World Cup qualifier is moved to so they can resume planning for that. They have been dealt the significant blow of losing allrounder Kim Garth who has committed her future to Australian cricket with Victoria.



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