Top Indian stars Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodriguez are set to miss the upcoming season of Women’s Big Bash League because of the ongoing home series against South Africa women and it also clashes with the tour of West Indies. This comes as a massive setback for franchisees who wanted to get these players on board. The upcoming season of the WBBL starts from  October 18 to December 8.

“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,” BCCI’s general manager (cricket operations) Saba 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.”

ALSO READ: Mithali Raj Heaps Praise on Shafali Verma, Rates 15-Year-Old as India’s Future Star

Scheduling aside, it is understood that the players were keen to be fresh for India’s tour of Australia next year which will feature a tri-series involving England – from January 31 to February 12 – ahead of the Women’s T20 World Cup to be held there in February-March.

WBBL franchise Sydney Thunder, because of the scheduling, did not offer a contract extension to Harmanpreet, who has been in their line-up since 2016-17. The India’s T20I captain was also approached by the Melbourne Stars.

Meanwhile, Mandhana who was contracted with the Hobart Hurricanes, was set to continue for a second consecutive edition. She had earlier been part of the Brisbane Heat in 2016-17. 19-year-old Rodrigues, who has been on the radar of at least two teams in the WBBL because of her exploits in the shorter formats of the game, is yet to receive a contract.

(With IANS inputs)