The BCCI’s decision to organise the Indian Premier League (IPL) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and on the other hand, cancel the India eves’ tour to England, has given rise the question: Does the Board care enough for women’s cricket?
However, former India women’s captain Diana Edulji doesn’t believe that the Indian cricket board has put women’s cricket on the back burner. “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].
“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 told mid-day on Wednesday.
Edulji, who was a part of the three-member Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) before Sourav Ganguly’s elected body took charge of BCCI affairs last October, feels hosting the IPL is a positive for Indian cricket. “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 IPL, which is slated to be played in September in the UAE, will be the first tournament, where top cricketers will be seen in action after a gap of more than six months.
Where women’s cricket is concerned, Edulji advocated patience. “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,” she said.
“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,” Edulji signed off.