Remember the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia where the India’s women’s team reached the final and had us hooked onto TV screens? Well, that match… that final on 8 March 2020 is also the last time Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Shafali Verma, and Jemimah Rodrigues got to wear their national jersey.
Because, since then, and it’s been 10 months now, all their international outings have been cancelled or postponed and the biggest event they have managed to play in, is an ongoing local club tournament in Bangalore because, let’s be honest, the BCCI’s four-match Women’s T20 Challenge can’t really qualify as a tournament, can it?
Tokenism at best is what the ‘Women’s IPL’ that was played during the men’s IPL in November, can be called.
Because what else will you call BCCI’s six-day event that had three teams play a total of four matches to decide a winner?
And, what’s worse, the dates clashed with the women’s big bash in Australia- a legit five-week tournament that no Indian cricketer could then play, because BCCI is boss.
Just like BCCI was boss when they decided to not allow the women’s team to travel to England for a triangular series involving South Africa in August. The ECB had shown in the summer that a bio-bubble was easy for them to handle and even after offering to provide quarantining and training facilities – like they did for the Pakistan men’s team – the BCCI elected to have the women’s team stay home, instead of playing an international series.