Even as talks mount of men’s cricket being prioritised as the ECB attempts to halt potential losses of up £380 million, Clare Connor, the managing director of women’s cricket, is hopeful that the women’s team’s assignments against India and South Africa can go ahead, even if only behind closed doors.
India were scheduled to tour England in late June, but that has already been pushed back, with cricket suspended in the UK until at least July 1. England are also slated to face South Africa in a limited-overs series in September that remains on schedule as of now.
With the women’s game having gained more traction than at arguably any point in history, best demonstrated by the record-setting crowd for the T20 World Cup final in March, Connor said that every effort will be made to restart women’s fixtures as quickly as possible.
“We are making progress all the time in terms of the whole schedule around England men and women, and the whole behind-closed-doors project is going really well, working with government and other sports,” Connor told ESPNcricinfo. “We’re still hopeful of being able to deliver both England women’s series against India and South Africa later on in the summer.
“It’s something we really, really are working very hard to avoid because of the momentum behind the women’s game that we’ve created, the most recent example of that being nearly 90,000 people at the MCG for the T20 World Cup final back in March,” Connor said. “We’re desperately committed to being able to stage international women’s cricket this summer.”
England’s men are due for a phased return to training, starting with the bowlers, who are a group of 18, resuming with individual programmes on May 21 and 22, while the batsmen return on June 1. Connor hoped the women could follow in a similar path.
“The men are back to action in that individualised training environment this week. They are obviously likely to play international cricket before England women this summer and that’s why they’re up and running first. We’re aiming for in a few weeks’ time, then we’re hopeful of being able to deliver those same sort of protocols in terms of England women’s return.”