India will kick off the second edition of the ICC Women’s ODI World Championship with three matches against South Africa in Round 1 of the competition, which is scheduled to be held from February 5-10. Similar to the previous edition, it runs from 2017-2020 with India playing 21 ODIs next year.
The Women’s Championship was launched by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday in the presence of India captain Mithali Raj and former skipper Anjum Chopra. Team India will face South Africa for first three matches, on February 5 and 7 in Kimberly and the final game on 10 February in Potchefstroom. India
The Women’s Championship will be following the same format as the initial 2014-16 edition and will have all the eight sides – Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. All the teams will be playing against each other in series of three ODIs on home soil as well as foreign grounds.
The host of World Cup 2021, New Zealand, along with three other top teams from the Championship will qualify directly for the showpiece event whereas the rest four sides will have to play in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier event. Six teams from four regions – Africa, Asia, East Asia Pacific and Europe, will also join these four teams.
For the first series of the Championship, West Indies will be hosting Sri Lanka from October 11-15 and England and Australia will play each other from October 22-29. India will play about 21 ODIs from 2018 to 2019. The veteran Mithali Raj is also considering the idea of participating in a few T20s along with the 50-over Women’s Championship.
Mithali Raj claimed that the team is ready to play the big number of international matches and is in a better state as compared to their past.
“To start off, I think 21 (games) over two years is a good enough number. Before the ODI Championship, we would have played not more than 10-12 games in the same period. 21 is a good enough and I am sure it will only get better.
The move of playing T20s alongside by the two teams competing in the ODI Championship has been welcomed by ICC as well.
“Member boards will be encouraged to play T20Is during tours but no other ODIs can be scheduled along with Women’s Championship series. Teams will get two points for each win, one point for a tie or no-result and no points for a loss,” said the ICC in a statement.
Also, whether India will play against Pakistan as part of the Championship or not remains to be seen. India had forfeited their matches against Pakistan in the initial edition and was penalized by ICC, who docked all of their six points possible from the scheduled series.
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