The Australian women cricketers have been stopped by their Board from participating in the planned women’s IPL next month owing to a men’s bilateral series dispute with the BCCI, which says its counterpart Down Under is indulging in “blackmail”. Three Australian players — Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, and Alyssa Healy –, who would have been big draws draw in the women’s IPL have been stopped by Cricket Australia. The matches, to be held between three teams, will be held from May 6 to 11 in Jaipur.
An email from Cricket Australia’s top official Belinda Clark (former skipper) in possession of PTI indicates that stopping the three is a “pressure tactic” to ensure postponement of men’s ODI series. As per the new Future Tours Program, Australia was supposed to play three ODIs in January 2020, which is during the peak Australian summer, owing to pressure from broadcasters.
“We will be in a position to consider the request when the current issue regarding the men’s ODI series that was agreed in the FTP for late January 2020 is resolved by Rahul (BCCI CEO Rahul Johri) and Kevin (CA CEO Kevin Roberts). I understand that this is being worked through at present,” Clarke wrote an e-mail to the IPL operations team. The BCCI has lambasted CA for putting conditions on the release of women players.
“If you look at the contents of Belinda’s email, it is clear that they are resorting to blackmailing tactics. How is releasing women players related to men’s series. It was agreed as per FTP and they want to backtrack now,” a senior official told PTI on condition of anonymity. The BCCI’s IPL operations team had written to the CA for the release of the three players on April 4 and Clark mailed on April 5. “Since April 5, there hasn’t been a single communication from CA and we had no option but to name the teams. Using women players to sort out men’s cricket issue is in bad taste,” the official added.