A new beginning for women's cricket in India

“There will be special arrangements for the families of the participating players. They are definitely being looked after and they will stay back for the next game (the IPL qualifier between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad) also,” said Diana Edulji.

With Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur leading the two sides — The Trailblazers and The Supernovas — the cricket enthusiasts will be hoping for some entertaining cricket.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

As the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai gears up for the first-ever Women’s T20 Challenge on Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has left no stone unturned to ensure the showpiece event is one to remember.

The exhibition fixture - a ground-testing plan for the proposed Indian Premier League (IPL)-style tournament for women cricketers - will see some of the top international stars plying their trade.

Former India women’s team captain and Committee of Administrators (CoA) member, Diana Edulji, confirmed that the players and their families — who will be in Mumbai for the one-off contest — will be well taken care of. “There will be special arrangements for the families of the participating players. They are definitely being looked after and they will stay back for the next game (the IPL qualifier between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad) also,” Edulji told Sportstar.

While there were plans to invite school students for the match—a first in the history of Indian women’s cricket—Edulji admitted that the idea had to be dropped for logistical reasons.

“We cannot have the first match and then prepare the ground for the qualifier. We thought we would get some school children, but it could not be worked out for the simple reason that it needed to empty the stadium quickly and by then the crowd would arrive for the first playoff,” she noted.

The BCCI has decided to start the playoffs and the final at 7 pm — an hour earlier than its regular start. With the women’s game starting at 2 pm, it would have been difficult to vacate the stadium and then conduct the playoffs. “The logistics is a bit difficult, so the main publicity will be on television,” Edulji added.

There were also speculations that the Board could invite some of the former women cricketers for the match. However, it is learnt that there won’t be any special invites. “In Mumbai, the former cricketers are given their passes and they will be there for the game,” Edulji said.

With Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur leading the two sides — The Trailblazers and The Supernovas — the cricket enthusiasts will be hoping for some entertaining cricket.