2021 Women's T20 Challenge likely to be postponed amid Covid-19 wave in India
It is understood BCCI officials have internally acknowledged the several logistical challenges during the second wave of Covid-19
The BCCI is likely to postpone the fourth edition of the Women's T20 Challenge owing to the potential unavailability of overseas players in the wake of restrictions imposed by several countries on travel to and from India, where a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to several world-record daily spikes of cases this month.
Although the BCCI has made no announcement on the 2021 T20 Challenge yet, ESPNcricinfo understands that officials have internally acknowledged the several logistical challenges involved in flying in overseas players from countries like England, Australia, South Africa, the West Indies, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Last year, 12 overseas players, including Deandra Dottin, Sune Luus, Danielle Wyatt, and Nathakan Chantham, featured in the three-team tournament.
On Tuesday, Australia suspended all direct passenger flights from India due to the unprecedented spike in Covid-19 cases. The country had already been put on the 'red list' of countries by the UK.
The T20 Challenge is normally played during the IPL playoffs week. If the same window were to be identified for this year, the tournament would have been held in the last week of May when the men's IPL playoffs are scheduled. Since its inception, the T20 Challenge has been held at a single venue, with the 2020 edition played in Sharjah when the IPL was staged in the UAE, and the 2019 event held in Jaipur.
While the IPL 2021 is being conducted in a caravan model - one stadium each in two cities are in operation at one time - across six cities, it is understood that the board had been considering Delhi as a likely host for the women's competition before the second wave of the pandemic wreaked havoc in India.
The T20 Challenge started in 2018 as a one-off exhibition match comprising two teams. Since the 2019 edition, the competition has featured three teams - Velocity, Supernovas, and Trailblazers - competing in a total of four games, including the final, with premier India players Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Smriti Mandhana the captains.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo