India's women's cricket team will resume its international assignment after a year, when it takes on South Africa in a five-match ODI and three-match T20I series, starting from March 7 at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.
The women cricketers featured in the final of the T20 World Cup Melbourne on March 8 last year, before the COVID-19 broke out. Even though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) organised an exhibition T20 challenge in the UAE during the Indian Premier League, there was no international or national assignments for the women cricketers.
The BCCI is yet to make things official, however, the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association officials have confirmed to Sportstar that the teams are expected to land in Lucknow on February 25. They will have to undergo mandatory quarantine before being allowed to train on March 6. The sides will play five day games, while the three-match T20Is will be played under lights between March 20 and 23.
"There will be RT-PCR tests done at regular intervals and only if results are negative, the players will be allowed to train," a Board insider said.
The series was initially allotted to Thiruvananthapuram, but with Kerala Cricket Association pulling out, the Board had to weigh other options. The Board insiders have confirmed that the Indian team has already been picked and a formal announcement is likely to be made in the next couple of days.
Domestic tournament to begin soon
The Board also plans to start the women's domestic one-dayers tournament next month. While the details are being worked out, Sportstar understands that the tournament will be held in a bio-secure environment - across six venues, similarly to the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Rajkot, Bengaluru, Surat, Indore, Jaipur have been earmarked as possible venues. And if the Board officials are to be believed then the tournament could only start in the second week of March - once the group stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy gets over.
"We have shortlisted a few venues and our target is to start the tournament by the second week of March. Safety of the players and all the stakeholders are paramount," a BCCI insider said.
The players undergo RT-PCR tests and the mandatory quarantine before they will be allowed to train. And the state associations, which are likely to host the matches, have been informally asked to get things in order, well in time. "We have not heard anything official from the BCCI yet, but yes, we have been informally told to be ready to host the tournament. We have started the process from our end," a senior state unit - which is one of the six shortlisted venues - official said.
India vs South Africa women's ODI series: March 7, 9, 12, 14, 17
T20I series: March 20, 21, 23
Venue: Ekana Stadium, Lucknow
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