The Indian women cricketers have had very little match match time during the course of this year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The men’s team on the other hand have had plenty of the same. The Indian Premier League (IPL) took place after a postponement and now, the Indian team are in Australia preparing for 3 ODIs, 3T20Is and 4 Tests.
Former Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar has expressed concerns that the Indian women haven’t got match time. The only time they were a part of cricketing action was during the Women’s T20 Challenge that played out like a tri-series. The Trailblazers led by Indian opener Smriti Mandhana emerged as the winners beating out the Supernovas led by Harmanpreet Kaur and the Velocity led by Mithali Raj.
‘Massive concern’ – Sthalekar laments lack of match time
Lisa Sthalekar, now a commentator in the IPL, said that the lack of match time for women cricketers was a big cause for concern. She said, “I know the pandemic and what the situation is in India. But the fact that Indian contracted players don’t know when they are playing next is a massive concern. They are going to fall behind. I feel they are the biggest untapped talent market. If they get it right, then Indian women’s cricket will dominate.”
Sthalekar also defended the below-par performances by women cricketers in the T20 Challenge by pointing out the nature of pitches. “On pitches with pace and bounce we will see decent scores. In the Women’s T20 challenge, unfortunately the matches were on low-scoring wickets. Also, the girls had hardly trained and that wasn’t the best advertisement for the game,” the former Australian captain said.
She then commented on the BCCI saying, “I think they (BCCI) are moving in the right direction but slow in planning a women’s IPL and provide enough match practice. The reason why Australian women’s cricket is going well is because we have invested in it. Australia are the leaders in creating WBBL, which is in its sixth year. I still remember in the first year, we had only six state teams. But we went ahead and were extended by two teams,” she signed off.