Diana Edulji comes out in defence of BCCI, says holding IPL important for the health of Indian cricket

Former India captain Diana Edulji, © Getty Images

Diana Edulji, former India skipper and member of the now defunct Committee of Administrators, has come out in defence of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) who came under fire after it came to light that the women’s team would not be travelling to England for the proposed tri-series.

Earlier this month, Clare Connor informed Women’s CricZone that India would not be able to travel to England due to the COVID-19 related travel restrictions in the country. England are therefore going to play a bi-lateral series against South Africa instead.

Soon after the announcement was made, the BCCI announced their decision to hold the Indian Premier League between September and November in Dubai. The board’s decision resulted in severe criticism regarding their handling of the women’s game, with one former player player saying the women’s game was being neglected.

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Edulji, however, stated that the BCCI have seen women’s cricket rise to the forefront, taking care of the players and raising the standard of the game in the country. She further added that it was not only the women’s game that was suffering at the minute, but even several men’s series have been cancelled due to the pandemic.

“Women’s cricket has been in the forefront after the BCCI took over and has moved leaps and bounds especially after the 2017 World Cup [where India lost in the 50-over final],” Edulji told Mid-Day on Wednesday (July 29). “Why are we looking at only women’s cricket? Hasn’t men’s cricket suffered? Their T20 World Cup has been deferred and lots of series are not taking place. Does that mean BCCI is ignoring the game and is only interested in the prestigious IPL?”

“If the World Cup and Asia Cup would have been held as per schedule, then would the IPL get a window? IPL is possible only because there is a window available.”

Edulji noted that hosting the IPL was a positive sign for the health of the game in India considering the financial strain the board is feeling at the minute.

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“Holding the IPL is important as the money earned through it runs all cricket in India—men, women, senior and junior level as well as payments to the players. Isn’t it a positive for the BCCI to host the IPL and take care of the future of the game at every level?” she asked.

The former skipper said it was important for people to be patient and not rush to criticise the board’s decision. She added that since India’s next big assignment – the ODI World Cup – is only early next year, the BCCI should formulate a plan to help the team prepare for that tournament. She expressed confidence in the Sourav Ganguly-led administration, saying she believes the management “know what they are doing.”

“I don’t think we should rush into things as our next big event is the World Cup next year [in New Zealand]. We should be patient and concentrate on that. If things improve, we can have a good domestic season so that the girls get into shape. Sending them to the UK without having a training camp here wouldn’t have been feasible because we don’t have too much bench strength and if any injuries take place, it would upset the balance of the team. Women’s cricket is not happening anywhere, so why a big hullabaloo here?”

“During the IPL, we used to have the T20 league for women. However, this year it may not be possible as the WBBL’s [Women’s Big Bash League] dates will clash.”

“The BCCI office-bearers and management know what they are doing and I’m sure that when the time is right, you will see the game of cricket, men or women, international or domestic, get into operation,” she said.