NEW DELHI: The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) effort to promote women’s cricket has run into a roadblock with the inaugural women’s U-19 World Cup looking uncertain to take off.
The ICC had announced that the tournament will be played in January 2021. But TOI has learnt that world body has more or less made up its mind to defer it and has conveyed its intentions to the member boards. However, no official announcement has been made yet.
“The cricket boards were told that the event has been indefinitely postponed. Even the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has not gone ahead with its plans of putting together a team,” a BCCI source told TOI.
However, sources in ICC claimed that a final decision is likely to be taken during the board meetings in November. Interestingly, the ICC has not worked on organizing the tournament during the pandemic since March. Even the hosting rights for the tournament wasn’t formally announced. “Bangladesh was certainly slated to host. It’s just that it never got the final green light,” an ICC source told TOI. The format of the tournament was also not decided although T20 was talked about as the preferred format.
TOI also understands that the member boards are not happy with the way ICC has handled the issue so far. “There has been no clarity on qualification tournaments. One has to keep in mind that putting out a national women’s U19 team is not as easy as putting together a men’s team. The resources are thin.
Most countries are still working on setting up a concrete system. BCCI, for example, is still putting in place a system where the state associations were told to focus on U-16 district tournaments for girls so that there will be a pool of U19 team in a couple of years. But the ICC needs to come up with a definite plan first,” a BCCI official told TOI.
The ICC has invested heavily in women’s cricket. The women’s U19 World Cup is a means to build on the overwhelming success of the Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year. The ICC is still looking at ways to get it off the ground.