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Indian Premier League 2021

Cancelling the Women's T20 Challenge will be a setback: Mamatha Maben

Cancellation of the tournament is not entirely ruled out in view of the enormous logistical challenges.

Cancelling the Womens T20 Challenge will be a setback: Mamatha Maben

The Smriti Mandhana led Trailblazers won the Women's T20 Challenge in 2020 (File photo)


Rahul Kargal

Updated: 28 April 2021 6:56 AM GMT

The fourth edition of the Women's T20 Challenge is almost certain to be postponed.

While the BCCI has made no official announcements to this effect, ESPNCricinfo reported that the governing body is likely to pull the plug on the tournament in keeping with internal logistic challenges and the fact that several countries have now imposed travel restrictions owing to the raging pandemic in India.

Traditionally played when the IPL is at the playoff stage, the Women's T20 Challenge in 2020 was held at Sharjah.

In addition to all the Indian internationals, that tournament featured 12 overseas players, including Sune Luus, Deandra Dottin, Nathakan Chantham and Danielle Wyatt.

Speaking exclusively to The Bridge, Mamatha Maben, former India captain and coach of the Harmanpreet Kaur led 2020 Supernovas squad said that the players are yet to receive any communication on the matter and a move to cancel the tournament would be a setback for the women.

"(It is) definitely a great set back. However, these are not normal times and I think that we should all factor that in," she said.

Having said that Maben did acknowledge that the logistics do present a challenge and the situation across the country was indeed unprecedented.

"These are unprecedented times and I, for one, am of the opinion that it is highly risky to go ahead with the tournament as things stand now. This, I was sensing or some time now. At a time when we are required to limit our movements, traveling and assembling all the players would involve a high degree of risk given these current circumstances," she added.

Bubble woes

With the players in the IPL citing 'bubble anxiety' and some pulling out, the question does arise if the problem persists with the women cricketers as well.

Maben, however, said that the bubble was a small trade-off to ensure that the women got an opportunity to play a major tournament.

"I feel it's a small sacrifice that we all can do in order to have a tournament going".

Speaking of her personal experience in the bubble for the Women's T20 Challenge at Sharjah in 2020, she said that the experience was new for the women involved.

"I guess they coped well. For me the bubble was a blessing in disguise. I am normally a person who is comfortable spending time with myself, so it was a welcome break from all the hustle and bustle at home."

While the IPL caravan continues to roll, a move to postpone or cancel that Women's T20 Challenge will undoubtedly rob the women cricketers of primetime coverage which would otherwise go a long way in bolstering the game in India.

For now though, the women wait in the wings as the men continue to ply their trade under the safety net offered by the all-powerful BCCI.

With inputs from ESPNCricinfo

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