England are scheduled to travel to India in January next year for a three-month long bilateral series. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly revealed it would be a full fledged series with four Tests, three ODIs and five T20Is. Of course, the final call on the dates would happen after the assessment of the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
From Ganguly’s words, it is apparent that the BCCI has no clue on how to resume the domestic season, other than the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) that is. Ranji Trophy and a host of other senior and age-group men’s and women’s tournaments are in a limbo while the BCCI is busy obiligint the other two members of the ICC Big Three -- Australia and England.
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“England is touring India for four Test matches, three ODIs, and five T20Is, it is easy to have bilaterals as there are just two teams, we have to keep assessing the situation, a lot of people are talking about the second Covid wave, we have to be careful,” said Ganguly in a virtual press conference.
Let us give the Board the benefit of the doubt here and say that the lack of planning for the domestic game has nothing to do with lack of intent. Bilateral series is easier since the number of variables -- players and people involved too -- are less. However, what about the women? Their bilateral engagement in England that was slotted earlier this year was cancelled. The Board could try and organise another tour for them or accommodate a visiting side, can’t it?
The national women’s team has not played since March 8 -- since the T20 World Cup Final. The players had a three-team outing at the T20 Challenge staged in the UAE earlier this month. Those were the only matches they have played in eight months, and their wait seems set to continue a fair bit into 2021 as well since the BCCI has not lined up or planned anything.
Instead, the focus seems to be around the men’s teams lucrative series and the next edition of the IPL. When it comes to the IPL, the number of teams and players and the variables to manage and the Covid-19 risks all become workable somehow.
“We are trying to have the next IPL in India, it’s a tournament for India, I always tell people that they need to be here to see what IPL means to India,” Ganguly said.
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