Focus should be on preparing for the 2021 World Cup, says Anjum Chopra

Women's CricZone Staff
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"This tournament is another opportunity for India to consolidate their position": Anjum Chopra

Anjum Chopra ©ICC

criticism regarding its handling of women's cricket. Following England and Wales Cricket Board's confirmation to Women's CricZone that India would not travel to England for the proposed tri-series, and the postponement of the men's T20 World Cup, the Indian board announced the men's Indian Premier League will be held in Dubai. The women's game has thus been left in the lurch.

With the Women's World Cup in New Zealand under six months away India has lost out on crucial preparation time.

The team was meant to tour England in early June, but the series was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a successful Test series between the England and West Indies men's teams, the ECB began discussing the possibility of hosting a tri-series involving India and South Africa. That, however, has become a bi-lateral series between England and South Africa after India refused to travel.

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Former India skipper Anjum Chopra said if India had agreed to travel to England, they would have had the opportunity to begin training and start preparation for the World Cup. However, they will now have to play catch up with the most countries having resumed practice.

“If the girls had gone to England, that means, they would have started training before the tour," Chopra told "And then they would have gone there and quarantined. Like the Pakistan men’s team has been there since the time the 1st Test match started in England (against West Indies). So obviously, when you start working backward, the team would have started training earlier, the team would have started matches earlier and then going out and playing a triangular series with South Africa and England."

“There is straightaway a lag of a couple of months because everybody else has started training. If you are going to start 2 months after others have started training, you’re going to play catch-up. The others have started training but the Indian team hasn’t.”

With the men's IPL to be staged in Dubai between September and November, a decision is yet to be made about the viability of hosting a Women's T20 Challenge. Since the tournament will clash with the Women's Big Bash League in Australia, there is also a question mark over the availability of overseas players.

Chopra, however, said that the board's priority should be helping the team to prepare for the World Cup next year. The Women's IPL, she said, could wait.

“At this point of time, it doesn’t really matter about only a women’s IPL, the women should start getting to be together, starting focussing on working towards the upcoming World Cup in New Zealand because that is going to be a very important World Cup for the Indian team.

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“They have played the final, semi-finals and then the final in the last 3 years, it’s a big World Cup. It becomes very very important. The bar has been set, if you can’t breach it, then at least you have to match it.”

Chopra, who made her international debut in 1995 and last turned out for India in 2012, suggested that a bio-bubble be created in order for the players to begin their training. She said the contracted group of players could then come together for a training camp at the venue.

“We all know for sure that this is what the situation is. We all know what it is. If the board can get the contracted players, I am not talking about the women, it’s up to the boys as well, to start having a camp in a bio-secure environment in any of the cities in the county."

“When you see a bio-secure environment, it doesn’t mean that in that part of the state or city, the coronavirus does not exist. It’s a bio-secure environment, if everyone is safe and sound, keeping all the checks, then the board can organise a camp. I think the camp is the way forward, that kind of bio-secure bubble needs to be thought out and planned. Ensuring that people who are fit start training,” she concluded.