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WBBL 2020, Women's Big Bash League
WBBL. Image Credit: Twitter.
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WBBL 2020 To Be Organised Entirely In Sydney Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), Australia’s T20 tournament, has been entirely shifted to Sydney as Cricket Australia’s head of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson proclaimed amid COVID-19 challenges.

Earlier, six cities were due to host the WBBL but because of the coronavirus-enforced travel restrictions, due to the ongoing coronavirus, Cricket Australia (CA) has decided, on Friday, to organize the event in one venue.

Overall, 59 games will be during the women’s premier domestic tournament’s. Also, the league has been pushed one week later. Earlier, it was scheduled to start on Oct 17 but now it will commence from Oct 25.

WBBL 2020 is the sixth season:

WBBL
WBBL team. Image Credit: Getty Images.

CA is organising the sixth season of the league in collaboration with the New South Wales government (NSW). Alistair Dobson showed his gratitude for the NSW government to work together. He said that a lot of effort has been put into organizing the full-fledged league during the challenging situation.

“We want to thank the NSW Government for their willingness to work together to deliver the WBBL|06 competition in Sydney,” Dobson said in a statement.

“We are incredibly proud to deliver a full season of rebel WBBL|06 and would like to thank the NSW Government, our partners States & Territories Associations, the Australian Cricketers’ Association as well as- in particular Cricket NSW – for rallying together at this challenging time to deliver a safe and successful tournament,” he added.

Women's Big Bash League
Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Australian sports minister Geoff Lee said that the hosting of WBBL in Sydney would encourage the young girls to play the game.

“This competition continues to grow from strength to strength. The quality of the talent is on the rise and the action is thrilling to watch,” said Lee.

“What stands out most is the great example these women are setting to young girls aspiring to play the game of cricket. I can’t wait to watch the best walkout for the Women’s Big Bash League in Sydney,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Indian batswoman will miss the WBBL because its schedule is clashing with the Women’s T20 Challange organised by BCCI in the UAE. Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues are some Indian cricketers who went on to fetch contract for WBBL.

Lisa Sthalekar, Women's T20 Challenge, WBBL, UAE
Lisa Sthalekar. Image Credit: Twitter.
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Without Overseas Player, Women’s T20 Challenge Might Not Be The Best Product: Lisa Sthalekar

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.  

Harmanpreet Kaur, Women's T20 Challenge, Supernovas
Image Credit: IPL
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I Will Definitely Miss Women’s Big Bash League: Harmanpreet Kaur

Harmanpreet Kaur, who became the first Indian women’s cricketer to feature in the Women’s Big Bash League in 2016, will miss playing the league, this year. Her remark came after BCCI has scheduled the Women’s T20 Challenge in early November which will clash with the WBBL schedule.

The India Women’s T20 captain Kaur was set to play her fourth WBBL edition, however, it overlaps with BCCI’s women’s competition, which subsequently has led her to miss this year’s edition.

Harmanpreet was also not able to play the last year’s WBBL because the board had set the bilateral series during that time. 

Notably, the WBBL is a full-fledged T20 competition in the women’s game that runs for six weeks.

However, the Women’s T20 challenge is still an exhibition match that was introduced in 2018. BCCI had promised to convert it into a Women’s IPL but the decision is still to be taken. 

Harmanpreet Kaur going to miss WBBL 2020: 

Harmanpreet Kaur
Harmanpreet Kaur. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Although the T20 captain didn’t blame BCCI, however, Harmanpreet Kaur expressed that he would absolutely miss for not featuring in the premier domestic competition in Australia

“The WBBL has always been a premier domestic competition worldwide, and I will definitely miss not being part of it,” she said at the launch of WTF Sports, a fantasy gaming app.

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

However, she is excited to play in the Women’s T20 challenge which will be the first women’s competition since the outbreak of the virus. She counts the importance of the mini-series which helps the team to scout talented women’s players.  

“It is fantastic news. As cricketers we haven’t played since the World Cup (T20 2020). We are raring to get back in action.”

“It is very important for the women’s game to grow and for more talent to come out, which has been the case in the men’s game. The board is gradually building towards having the women’s IPL in a few years.”

In the last edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge, Harmanpreet Kaur-led Supernovas clinched the trophy after defeating Mithali Raj-led Velocity by four wickets.

KFC BBL, WBBL
WBBL and KFC BBL trophies (Image Credit: CA)
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KFC BBL 2020/21 And WBBL 2020/21 Fixtures Announced

On Wednesday (15th July) morning, the Cricket Australia (CA) announced the full fixtures of the Women’s Big Bash League 2020/21 (WBBL 06) and KFC Big Bash League 2020/21 (KFC BBL 10).

The sixth season of the WBBL will begin on 17th October 2020 and it will run till 29th November 2020. Meanwhile, the upcoming KFC BBL season has been scheduled between 3rd December 2020 and 6th February 2021.

However, the CA has also clarified that both the schedules can be changed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, especially when Melbourne and Sydney have recently experienced new coronavirus pandemic.

KFC BBL, WBBL, fixtures

Cricket Australia’s Big Bash chief Alistair Dobson claimed, “Scheduling in the time of coronavirus is not without its challenges, as we have seen. There are factors outside the league itself which could impact (the schedule) at a later date.”

Incidentally, the 10th season of the KFC BBL will begin on the same day when the much-awaited four-match Test series between the hosts Australia and the visitors India will begin as both have been scheduled on 3rd December 2020.

Brisbane Heat will begin their WBBL 06 journey as the defending champions as they won their second WBBL trophy in the last season after beating Adelaide Strikers in the final by six wickets (with 11 balls to spare).

WBBL, fixtures
Brisbane Heat won the last WBBL trophy (Image Credit: Brisbane Heat)

On the other hand, Sydney Sixers will start their KFC BBL 10 journey as the defending champions as they also won their second KFC BBL trophy in the last season after beating Melbourne Stars in the final by 19 runs.

KFC BBL, fixtures
Sydney Sixers won the last KFC BBL trophy (Image Credit: CA)

The detailed fixtures of the WBBL 2020/21

The detailed fixtures of the KFC BBL 2020/21

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CA has struggled to maintain the home fixtures, just like the other cricket boards. Australia has also the plan to host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 between 18th October and 15th November 2020, but the tournament is widely doubtful due to the coronavirus pandemic. The International Cricket Council (ICC) can take the final decision about the forthcoming T20 World Cup in this month.

Apart from the home international series and T20 leagues, the domestic first-class tournament Sheffield Shield will also be organised in the 2020/21 Australian summer.

Trent Woodhill, WBBL, BBL
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Trent Woodhill Becomes Melbourne Stars’ Chief Coach For WBBL

Melbourne stars, on Tuesday, proclaimed that Trent Woodhill had become their new Women’s Big Bash Leagues’ head coach. Apart from coaching, he would be working as the manager for both men’s and women’s teams. Woodhill has also worked in the Indian Premier League(IPL) for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils.

Earlier, former Australia opener Leah Poulton was named to take the role, but she quit the role ahead of the official announcement. And it turned out to be a great opportunity for Trent Woodhill.

Trent Woodhill promises to take Melbourne Stars to WBBL title win:

Women's Big Bash League
WBBL. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

In the recent interaction, the newly appointed coach Woodhill assured that the team would bounce back with much strength in the upcoming season. He even said that he would take the team to their maiden finals and title win. However, he acknowledged that the stars need to improve in several areas.

“It’s a great opportunity and one I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to,” Woodhill said.

“I’ve been involved with the Stars for many years now and know the environment and the ethos well. We’re backing ourselves to bounce back from some of the results in recent WBBL seasons. The competition is only getting stronger and we need to be stronger too. I’d certainly like to see a maiden finals appearance this season and win the title but there is plenty of work to do first,” Woodhill maintained.

Trent woodhill, Big Bash League
Trent Woodhill. Image Credit: Twitter.

Trent Woodhill was also the batting coach of Australia’s star batswoman Alyssa Healy. He was also the high-performance consultant to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in the creation of the Hundred.

Meanwhile, the fate of the WBBL 2020 is uncertain because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cricket Australia is exploring options, but nothing has been assured for organising the T20 League in the summer.

Emily Smith, ban, WBBL 2019, Cricket Australia
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WBBL’s Emily Smith Banned For Revealing Playing XI on Social Media

Hobart Hurricanes’ wicketkeeper Emily Smith has been banned for one year for disclosing the details of playing XI which could have assisted betting in the game.

Emily Smith posted a video, an hour before the match, in Instagram, which revealed the batting line up for the match against Sydney Thunders on November 2 in Burnie. Though the match was not played because of the weather, it hasn’t curbed her from punishment.

Emily Smith banned under Article 2.3.2

She will not play the remaining Women’s Big Bash League‘s matches and will not be eligible to play any form of cricket for one year. She is banned under the Article 2.3.2 of Cricket Australia.

Article 2.3.2 of Cricket Australia’s Anti-Corruption Code prohibits: “Disclosing Inside Information to any person (with or without Reward) where the Participant knew or might reasonably have known that such disclosure might lead to the information being used in relation to Betting in relation to any Match or Event.”

The 24-Year-old Emily Smith hasn’t played for his country. It will be a big break in her international career. Her ban is for 12 months with nine months suspended. Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security Sean Carroll opined that no excuse will be heard from the players as they are educated in the programs about Anti-corruption code.

“CA’s rigorous anti-corruption player education program means that players are well aware of their obligations under the Anti-Corruption Code and there is no excuse for breaches regardless of the reasons for information being disclosed,” Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security Sean Carroll was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“Since the commencement of the WBBL, Cricket Australia has had in place a robust anti-corruption program,” he added.

Emily Smith, banfor one year, Women's Big Bash League, BBL 2019, Cricket Australia
Emily Smith

“We have been working with Emily throughout the process and Emily now understands the mistake she made,” he said.

“Unfortunately, in this instance, Emily’s actions breached the Anti-Corruption Code. We hope this serves as a reminder to all that the Anti-Corruption Code is critical to protecting the integrity of the game,” Carroll said.

Harmanpreet Kaur.
Harmanpreet Kaur.
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Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana And Jemimah Rodrigues Will Not Play In WBBL 2019

Indian women’s T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, swashbuckling Smriti Mandhana and youngster Jemimah Rodrigues will not play in Women’s Big Bash League 2019. This year tournament will start earlier than usual from 18th October to 8th December 2019.

The three Indian players will not be able to play WBBL because of clashing of dates with international matches. The team is currently busy against South Africa series in home ground. The tour will end on October 14 with five T20I and three ODI matches against South Africa. After this series, they will play the international series against the host side Windies women.

Read More: England Veteran Wicketkeeper-Batswoman Sarah Taylor Retires From International Cricket

Indian Women’s team is packed with tight Schedule. The team is busy with the preparation for next year’s T20 World Cup. The team will have a tri-series involving England and Australia from January 31 to February 12. Because of which Harmanpreet Kaur would have not got the contract from Sydney Thunder.

Smriti Mandhana will not be seen in the league after her debut in 2016-17. Jemimah Rodrigues who played in Kia Super League was not able to make her debut in WBBL.

Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, WBBL, Indian women
Photo Credit: ESPNcricinfo.

BCCI’s general manager (cricket operations) Saba Karim said that they have no intention to discourage players to participate in leagues. But they should also not forget their duty for the national team.

“The BCCI doesn’t discourage any of our women’s players from taking part in overseas leagues as long as their participation [in those tournaments] doesn’t clash with their national duties,” Karim told ESPNcricinfo. “In this case, there’s an international series to be played, so that will automatically be on top of their list of priorities,” he added.

The 23-year-old Smriti Mandhana has played 50 ODIs and 59 T20Is. She has scored 1951 in ODIs and 1319 in T20Is. She is famous to hit long shots and is unbeatable. The player made her debut in the WBBL for Brisbane Heat.

Read More: Sarfaraz Ahmed Feels Babar Azam Can Be In The Same Category Of Steven Smith, Virat Kohli

Rodrigues, who will not be able to make her debut in WBBL, has played amazingly in England’s T20 League. She played for Yorkshire Diamonds and was the second-highest run-scorer in the league.

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