BCCI-CA conflict leaves female stars in limbo

8:54 PM ETDaniel BrettigAssistant editor, ESPNcricinfo CloseAssistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel’s chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth – a rare Australian victory that summer.Follow on TwitterFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint

Conflict between Cricket Australia and the BCCI has left Australia’s female players confused and fuming about their absence from the list of players taking part in the IPL exhibition series due to take place in India next month.

The announcement from the BCCI on Thursday that no Australians would be taking part in the exhibition tournament, a year after Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney all featured in the inaugural match, arrived with players still unsure about whether or not they would be travelling to India for the event.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the decision not to include Australian women in the tournament is part of a wider disagreement between the two boards that also featured the BCCI’s insistence on CA honouring a touring commitment to play men’s ODIs in India in January next year, leaving Australian broadcasters angry about an absence of one day cricket on the home calendar while also taking the nation’s best players overseas in the midst of the Big Bash League.

CA is believed to have been non-committal about the availability of women’s players for the IPL exhibition for some months, alongside negotiations about the men’s ODI series. However, as the world’s most powerful board put its foot down over the men’s ODI series, the CA chief executive Kevin Roberts broke from annual leave to travel to India for last-minute negotiations about the women’s IPL tournament – talks that now appear to have come to nought.

“CA has never said the players will be unavailable. We have been working with the BCCI on this and assisted them with activating the visa process earlier in the week,” a CA spokesperson said. “We confirmed yesterday that the players would be released and able to participate in the tournament that commences on 6 May.

“There was no indication at that time that there were any problems with this and the BCCI were grateful for the support of the women’s IPL. As was the case last year we are very supportive of the Women’s IPL and look forward to seeing some great games ahead of the Women’s Ashes.”

Last year’s first exhibition match was not without its troubles, with some disquiet about the nature of the contracts offered to the players to take part, including their terms and conditions. This year CA had been working to negotiate contracts collectively on behalf of their players, before the breakdown in talks that has led to their absence from playing lists named by the IPL.

Australia are the reigning T20 World Cup champions after winning the global tournament in the Caribbean late last year, with Lanning, Perry and Healy arguably the world’s best players. CA’s development of the WBBL has been unashamed in its focus to be the world’s biggest women’s event, taking the place that the IPL occupies for the men’s game.