Cricket: Women’s Challenger Trophy 2018

Author – Ashwin Kumar M

The women’s Challenger Trophy has started yesterday on 4th January and it is a premier event in the women’s domestic calendar. The best of the women talents in the country would be divided in three teams namely India Blue, India Red and India Green. Each team play each other in one day format before the top two teams compete in the Final on January 8. It is being held in Holkar Stadium, Indore which has just witnessed an enthralling Ranji Trophy final and a new winner of the trophy.

Being the pinnacle domestic event in women’s cricket, anyone making it to one of these teams is an indication if not confirmation that they are in selector’s radar. One significant change that has been made this year is that India Green will no longer be comprised entirely of U19 players. This system was introduced in 2012-13. Since then India Green has not won a single match. So this must have forced the selectors to make this change. With best of the talents now distributed among the three teams, this tournament will definitely be more competitive than the past seasons.

With India women scheduled to visit South Africa in February and Australia and England teams visiting us in March and April this year, this tournament will definitely serve as a platform for various players to attract selector’s attention and earn a national call up.

Quite a few of these players represented India A squad during the series against Bangladesh A last month but there are a few who do not find a place in this tournament from that series. Either the selectors are treating these two as separate opportunities or they do not consider these players in the reckoning. Only time will reflect on their thought process. There is couple of warm up matches for the Australian side before they start their tour. A good performance in this tournament could open doors for that as well.

Notable names missing from this contest are Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy, both of whom are playing in the Women’s Big Bash.

This is a one day tournament but at the end of the day it a limited overs tournament. With the T20 tri-series is in pipeline (with Australia and England being the other two countries) in March, this could also be the opportunity for the girls to show their T20 potential if not 50 overs.

Indian women have not played international cricket since their world cup campaign in July 2017. After an exhaustive one day leagues in U19 and Senior categories during the season so far, this tournament would definitely serve as feeder for the international season that commences in February. Hope to see some highly competitive contests.

The tournament is being covered by Star Sports and is shown live on Hotstar.

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