Women’s support staff and cricket’s inclusion in 2028 Olympics will also come up for discussion
India Women’s future tours program and the appointment of their support staff are two of the 14 items on the agenda at a special meeting of the BCCI Apex Council, scheduled for April 16.
Just under 11 months out from the rescheduled 2022 ODI World Cup in New Zealand, which will be followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – where women’s cricket will make its maiden appearance courtesy an eight-team T20 competition – there remains little clarity on India’s list of fixtures. While a rare one-off Test during a tour of England, mostly likely in June 2021, and a proposed tour of Australia before the World Cup have been lined up, the BCCI is yet to announce any other international series involving India.
ESPNcricinfo understands that a potential bilateral assignment against Sri Lanka, which has come up for discussion between the two boards intermittently since July-August last year, is well on the backburner as SLC, instead, is hoping to finalise discussions with the PCB about hosting Pakistan after May.
Most of the Indian players in the national set-up are expected to be part of the fourth edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge that is likely to run in its traditional window – during the playoffs week of the IPL in May. It remains uncertain, though, if the tournament would be expanded to four teams and, therefore, seven matches instead of three teams playing four matches, which has been the case since its inception in 2018. Several top-flight players could also be involved in the Hundred in July-August, as opener Smriti Mandhana confirmed last month, pending clearances from the BCCI.
In terms of the support staff, it has been learnt that incumbent head coach WV Raman, whose two-year contract expired in December 2020 but was extended until the home series against South Africa that ended last month, is likely to be retained. The BCCI is expected to put out an advertisement inviting applications for the position, as well as for the roles of bowling and fielding coaches, currently held by Narendra Hirwani and Abhay Sharma respectively.
The BCCI’s stand on cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics will also be discussed at the meeting. In October 2020, the ICC had sent a questionnaire to its member countries asking them to assess “the potential financial support” they might receive should the sport return to the Olympic program for the first time in 128 years. Two months later, following a BCCI meeting, it was learnt that the Indian board was open to the idea of cricket featuring in the 2028 Olympics, but it wanted clarity on a few key issues.
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha