Without Overseas Player, Women's T20 Challenge Might Not Be The Best Product: Lisa Sthalekar

Without Overseas Player, Women’s T20 Challenge Might Not Be The Best Product: Lisa Sthalekar

Lisa Sthalekar, Women's T20 Challenge, WBBL, UAE
Lisa Sthalekar. Image Credit: Twitter.

Australian cricketer-turned-commentator Lisa Sthalekar opined that the upcoming Women’s T20 Challenge in UAE might not be ‘the best product’ because the overseas player, especially Australians, would missing the competition. Her remark is the reaction to the clashing of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) and Women’s T20 Challenge’s schedule. 

India women’s domestic tournament, Women’s T20 Challenge, is scheduled parallelly with men’s Indian Premier League’s (IPL) playoffs from November 1-9. On the other hand, Australia’s premier T20 league, WBBL, is slated to held from October 17-November 29. So, the two tournament dates are clashing each other. Thus, several Australian cricketers, including Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes, will be forced to miss the T20 Challenge. Alternatively, Indian cricketers will also be unavailable for WBBL. 

Thus, Lisa Sthalekar is unimpressed with the Board of Control Cricket In India’s (BCCI) decision. She opined that in the upcoming edition in the UAE, the overseas players would not be participating which would lower the competition. 

Trailblazers vs Supernovas
Women’s T20 Challenge, 2019. Photo by: Faheem Hussain /SPORTZPICS for BCCI

Lisa Sthalekar advised that the Indian board should have scheduled their competition after WBBL in December. As per her, the extended period would have given the BCCI some time to upgrade the Women’s T20 Challenge like IPL, six to eight teams participating. 

“The unfortunate part is there’s already a WBBL competition taking place. They could have done two things: they could have gone with what they’re doing or the second thing is they could have to bite the bullet and tried to find six or eight teams and hold it in December after the WBBL, potentially flying over the internationals.

“The issue for me is it [the T20 Challenge] is not necessarily the best product because you’re going to miss out on Australian players and potentially some international players [from other countries], so the product won’t be as good as it could be. 

Lisa Sthalekar on positive take away from Women’s T20 Challenge:

Harmanpreet Kaur, Supernovas, Trailblazers
Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana (Image Credit: Twitter)

However, Lisa acknowledges that India’s domestic tournament would allow Indian cricket to hunt talented players for the future. 

“But selfishly, from an Indian domestic point of view, it’s giving those players a chance to play more cricket and potentially opening up a few more nodes for players on the fringe, who might get a chance. And that will, hopefully, allow the BCCI to see there is enough depth for the board to have a full-fledged women’s IPL-style competition next year and then everyone can join in at the proper time, in April-May.

Meanwhile, Indian cricketers after the break of over six months have got the stage in the UAE to resume the sport.  

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