Mithali, Poonam welcome Ganguly's announcement
The president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sourav Ganguly on Sunday said the Women's IPL or the Challenger series, as it is better known, is "very much on", ending speculation about the parent body not having a plan for Harmanpreet Kaur and her team.
The men's IPL will be held between September 19 and November 8 or 10 (final date yet to be locked in) in the UAE due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in India. The women's IPL will also be fit in to the schedule, the BCCI chief said.
"I can confirm to you that the women's IPL is very much on and we do have a plan in place for the national team also," Ganguly told PTI ahead of the IPL Governing Council meeting later on Sunday.
The BCCI president, who is awaiting a Supreme Court verdict on the waiver of the cooling off period to continue in the position, did not divulge details but another senior official privy to the development said that women's Challenger will be held during the last phase of the IPL, like last year.
"The women's Challenger series is likely to be held between November 1-10 and there could be a camp before that," the source said.
The BCCI chief also said that the centrally contracted women players will have a camp which has been delayed due to the pandemic.
"We couldn't have exposed any of our cricketers -- be it male or female to health risk. It would have been dangerous," Ganguly said.
"The NCA also remained shut because of COVID-19. But we have a plan in place and we will have a camp for women, I can tell you that," he added.
The BCCI's cricket operations team is chalking up a schedule where Indian women are likely to have two full-fledged white-ball series against South Africa and the West Indies before playing the ODI World Cup in New Zealand.
Indian women cricketers including ODI captain Mithali Raj, on Sunday, welcomed the announcement.
The team has not played since the T20 World Cup final since March. Mithali, who only plays ODIs, last played in November.
With the tour of England in cancelled, it seemed the women won't get much game time before the ODI World Cup in February-March.
However, Ganguly's announcement has eased some concerns.
"This is excellent news. Our ODI World Cup campaign to finally kick start. A big thank you to @SGanguly99 @BCCI @JayShah and thank you @BoriaMajumdar for your support to women's cricket," Mithali tweeted.
Senior spinner Poonam Yadav wrote: "Good news! Thank you @SGanguly99 and the BCCI."
The BCCI had received some criticism for cancelling the women team's tour of England at a time when the IPL preparations are on full swing.