Cricket

India women: a year of cricket lost while other major teams played

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India women’s upcoming home series against South Africa, starting March 7, will end a 364-day period of no international cricket – their longest time off the field since 2008. ESPNcricinfo looks at the spell of almost complete inactivity that followed the T20 World Cup final on March 8, 2020. In that time, India’s men’s teams have played 14 internationals.

Tour of England: cancelled

Scheduled for: September 2020
India men’s cricket at the time: No international series between March and August; IPL 2020 started on September 19
International women’s cricket at the time: Australia vs New Zealand; England vs West Indies

India were to kick off preparations for the ODI World Cup, initially scheduled for February-March 2021 in New Zealand, with a white-ball series against England, the reigning world champions, in July-August last year. The pandemic forced the England board to postpone the tour to September, and it then drew up plans to turn it into a tri-series involving South Africa, but the BCCI pulled out, because of the worsening Covid-19 situation in India – though this was not confirmed.

ESPNcricinfo understands that discussions between the BCCI and the ECB are currently on to have India travel to England for a series in June-July 2021, ahead of the inaugural Hundred competition.

Tour of Australia: postponed

Scheduled for: January 22-28, 2021
Indian men’s cricket at the time: Just completed a two-month long tour of Australia
International women’s cricket at the time: South Africa vs Pakistan

The India women’s tour to Australia was also part of the build-up to the 2021 World Cup, but there was silence from the BCCI about the prospects of the series. ESPNcricinfo reported on December 22 last year that the Indian board wasn’t keen on going ahead with the tour. Nine days later, Cricket Australia announced that the tour had been postponed to the following season.

Sri Lanka tour: on the backburner

Scheduled (tentatively) for: November-December 2020
India men’s at the time: Tour of Australia
International women’s cricket at the time: None; the 2020 Women’s T20 Challenge (November 4-9) and the WBBL (October 25-November 28) were underway

Talks of an eight-match tour began in August-September 2020 after the cancellation of India’s tour of England, but concerns over the length of quarantine and a spike in Covid-19 cases in Sri Lanka forced an end to the discussions. ESPNcricinfo understands that the fixtures no longer feature in either board’s immediate plans. Sri Lanka are hoping to play their first international match since the T20 World Cup in May, either against Bangladesh or Pakistan.

Series against West Indies: in limbo

Scheduled dates: Not confirmed

Soon after it was announced that the T20 Challenge would be held in November 2020, reports emerged that an India-West Indies series would be played before February-March 2021. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had also said at the time that a camp would be organised for the centrally contracted India women players, but there has been no such camp in the past year, not even in the lead-up to the upcoming series against South Africa. Details about the series against West Indies haven’t resurfaced since.

Series against South Africa: riddled with confusion

The home series against South Africa also went through a healthy dose of confusion and uncertainty before it was finally confirmed. An army recruitment drive in Kerala forced the matches out of the state before Lucknow was named as a replacement venue for all eight games.

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