India likely to return to action with series against Sri Lanka, England

Shikha Pandey celebrates a wicket with her teammates. © Getty Images

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking to resume international cricket for the senior women’s side with bilateral tournaments against Sri Lanka and England from March. BCCI are in talks with respective boards, as per a report by Times of India.

Even though no concrete decisions were made at the BCCI AGM on Thursday (December 24) regarding the resumption of women’s cricket, it has been reported that domestic competition is likely to begin from February followed by the proposed international matches.

India last played international cricket during the T20 World Cup in March where they finished as the runners-up losing the final to Australia at the MCG. Since then, their proposed tour to England, series against South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka were either didn’t materialise, cancelled or rescheduled owing to the restrictions that were in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The women’s team will start playing home and away from March. BCCI will try to accommodate as many tours that couldn’t happen last year,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying.

Indian cricketers returned to cricketing action when they played the Women’s T20 Challenge in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November where Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers defeated Harmanpreet Kaur’s Supernovas to win the title. Those four matches during the play-off weekend of Indian Premier League (IPL) were the only competitive matches India’s international cricketers played in last nine months.

As per report, there is a likelihood of a curtailed off-season in 2021 with BCCI determined to host as many matches as possible by extending the season beyond the regular calendar. If the domestic season doesn’t happen or if the matches are curtailed BCCI is likely to compensate the players.

“The board’s objective is to conduct as many age-group tournaments, if not all. The season is likely to go till even June-July or beyond,” the official added.

“The modalities are worked out. But it is better to pay the players directly as it is done with match fees. There could be a pool of players from states and the board will pay them.”