No players from Australia and South Africa are in the three squads that will take part in the four-match Women's T20 Challenge, which will be held in Jaipur from May 6 to 11 on the sidelines of the IPL playoffs.
South Africa's players are unavailable because of their home series against Pakistan, which begins on May 6. The surprise, however, is in the absence of Australia's cricketers. The world leaders in the women's game, Australia had fielded the largest overseas contingent in last year's one-off exhibition match, including stars such as Meg Lanning, Megan Schutt, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney.
Only last month, Cricket Australia's female high-performance manager Shawn Flegler had told cricket.com.au that the board would support Australians participating in any exhibition matches played this year. "It's a great opportunity for the players, and to see a women's IPL get off the ground would be a great thing for the game more broadly," Flegler had said.
A report on CA's website yesterday, headlined "Aussies in frame for women's IPL games", suggested the players would take part in the tournament. However, the report also confirmed that Australia's pre-Ashes camp would begin in Brisbane on May 13, two days after the final of the Jaipur tournament.
For the upcoming Indian competition, 39 players, including internationals, have been divided among three teams - Supernovas, Trailblazers, and Velocity. The teams will be led by Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj respectively.
Some of the top players from England and New Zealand will be present and, unlike last year, when only players from Australia, New Zealand and England made up the overseas contingent, the upcoming edition will feature three West Indians in Stafanie Taylor, Hayley Matthews and Shakera Selman, while Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be represented by Chamari Atapattu and Jahanara Alam respectively.
Current India women head coach WV Raman has been named the coach of Harmanpreet's Supernovas, while fielding coach Biju George will be in charge of Mandhana's Trailblazers. Former India women's captain Mamatha Maben, who had applied for the India women head coach's position after the exit of Ramesh Powar last year, will coach Raj's Velocity.
Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Anuja Patil, Arundhati Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, Priya Punia, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Chamari Atapattu*, Lea Tahuhu*, Sophie Devine*, Natalie Sciver*
Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (c), Bharti Fulmali, Dayalan Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Harleen Deol, Jasia Akhtar, Jhulan Goswami, R Kalpana (wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Suzie Bates*, Sophie Ecclestone*, Shakera Selman*, Stafanie Taylor*
Velocity: Mithali Raj (c), Devika Vaidya, Ekta Bisht, Komal Zanzad, Shafali Verma, Shikha Pandey, Sushma Verma (wk), Sushri Dibyadarshini, Veda Krishnamurthy, Amelia Kerr*, Danielle Wyatt*, Hayley Matthews*, Jahanara Alam*