The 2021 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup is scheduled to be played in New Zealand in February and March next year. Veteran Indian cricketers Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami recently expressed concerns about their preparations for the World Cup as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has wiped out all cricketing activities till the near future. Amid the India lockdown, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently suspended back-to-back women’s List A domestic tournaments, which were dubbed by many as the ideal preparation campaign for the Indian team.
The BCCI recently postponed the Women’s One-Day League and Women’s Challenger Trophy along with the entire Indian domestic season until further notice. The two 50-overs tournaments were originally scheduled to be played between February 18 and March 30. While speaking with The Times of India, India’s ODI captain Mithali Raj said that since she and teammate Jhulan Goswami play only one format for India, it will be difficult for them to prepare themselves for the World Cup.
As per the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) schedule, Indian women’s next ODI assignment is the 2020 Women’s Cricket World Cup qualifiers in Sri Lanka in July. While ICC has already postponed or cancelled all cricketing events till June, the qualifiers in July will be closely eyed by the apex body. According to Mithali Raj, the qualifiers are also likely to be rescheduled which will ultimately impact her World Cup preparations. Jhulan Goswami held the same view and described the suspension of cricket as a “setback”.
Mithali Raj is a right-handed opening batswoman for India and is widely considered as one of the greatest players to play the game. She is the all-time highest run-scorer in women’s ODIs and is the only female cricketer to score 6,000 runs in the format. Meanwhile, Jhulan Goswami is the fastest bowler in contemporary cricketer and is currently the leading wicket-taker in women’s 50-overs internationals.
Apart from the women’s domestic and international events, the ongoing coronavirus also prompted BCCI to delay the highly-anticipated Indian Premier League 2020 (IPL 2020) season. As similar to women’s cricket, the IPL 2020 was looked upon by many cricketing experts as a preparation campaign for the men’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.