Cricket Australia-BCCI conflict spills over into Women’s T20 Challenge

London [UK]: A conflict between Cricket Australia (CA) and the BCCI has led to reigning T20 World Cup champions Australia being left out of the upcoming Women’s T20 Challenge.

BCCI on Thursday announced the squads for Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity. The surprise, however, was the absence of Australia’s cricketers including Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney, who came in a large contingent for the inaugural one-off exhibition match last year.

The decision not to include Australian women in the tournament is part of a wider disagreement between the two boards that also featured the BCCI’s insistence on CA honouring a touring commitment to play men’s ODIs in India in January next year, leaving Australian broadcasters angry about an absence of one day cricket on the home calendar while also taking the nation’s best players overseas in the midst of the Big Bash League, ESPNcricinfo reported.

Moreover, it is understood that CA has been non-committal about the availability of women’s players for the T20 Challenge for some months, alongside negotiations about the men’s ODI series. CA chief executive Kevin Roberts travelled to India for last-minute negotiations for the women’s tournament.

“CA has never said the players will be unavailable. We have been working with the BCCI on this and assisted them with activating the visa process earlier in the week. We confirmed yesterday that the players would be released and 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 were grateful for the support of the women’s IPL. As was the case last year we are very supportive of the Women’s IPL and look forward to seeing some great games ahead of the Women’s Ashes,” ESPNcricinfo quoted a CA spokesperson, as saying.

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) stated that three players – Lanning, Healy and Perry – were eager to compete in the tournament if an agreement can be reached between CA and the BCCI.

“The Women’s T20 Challenge in India is a good opportunity to grow and develop the global interest in women’s cricket. In speaking with the players we know they have been preparing to go and are still keen to play. To have no Australian players in the tournament would be an opportunity missed,” ESPNcricinfo quoted an ACA spokesperson, as saying.

The three-match Women’s T20 Challenge followed by the final between first and second placed teams will be hosted at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur from May 6-11.