New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) surprised all when it named the three teams for the Womens T20 Challenge, to be played in Jaipur from May 6, on Thursday night. There wasn’t a single Australian player named in any of the three squads — Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity. It has now come to the fore that this was a pressure tactic by the Australian cricket board after a dispute with the BCCI regarding a men’s ODI series.
The issue started after the Indian board wanted Cricket Australia (CA) to play a men’s ODI series in India in January 2020. The proposal irked the Australian broadcasters as that would mean there would be no ODIs in Australia’s home season. But BCCI officials believe that this is no way to react to the issue with regard to men’s cricket. “Can anyone say what the connection is? What has men’s ODIs between the two countries, proposed to be played in 2020, got to do with women’s cricket? This is nothing short of unprofessional,” an official told IANS.
Cricket Australia official Belinda Clark’s mail to the IPL operations team in the whole matter makes it even more obvious that the reason to not release the women players is the result of the ongoing issue over the proposed ODI series in January next year. “We will be in a position to consider the request when the current issue regarding the men’s ODI series that was agreed in the FTP for late January 2020 is resolved by Rahul (BCCI CEO Rahul Johri) and Kevin (CA CEO Kevin Roberts). I understand that this is being worked through at present,” Clarke wrote.
But Cricket Australia provided a different picture when a spokesperson said that the Australian players were available. “CA has never said the players will be unavailable. We have been working with the BCCI on this and have assisted them with activating the visa process earlier in the week,” a CA spokesperson was quoted as saying. “We confirmed yesterday that the players would be released and would be able to participate in the tournament that commences on May 6. There was no indication at that time that there were any problems with this and the BCCI was grateful for the support of the women’s IPL.”