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ECB exhausts options to avert WPL clash with New Zealand tour dates

ECB exhausts options to avert WPL clash with New Zealand tour dates

The ECB’s attempt to reschedule England’s women’s tour in New Zealand faced a setback as New Zealand Cricket (NZC) declined their request. The ECB had sought to adjust the dates due to player unavailability caused by the Women’s Premier League commitments in India. Four players are set to miss the initial three T20Is, while two others withdrew from franchise contracts. 

NZC had finalized the tour fixtures in July, which comprised of five T20Is and three ODIs from March 19 to April 6. The BCCI’s recent announcement of the WPL schedule, ending with the final on March 17 in Delhi, clashed with the tour’s commencement on March 19 in Dunedin. Despite ECB’s request, NZC cited logistical constraints, while they affirmed the tour’s set dates.

“We explored every option available to us to make sure all our players were available during the New Zealand series, but that didn’t quite work out as we would have liked. Yes, there are things that other boards could have done, but they’re things that are totally out of our control to be honest. We’ve had to react to the situation as best we can… it’s quite a unique situation. It’s quite complex… we talk to everyone as individuals and work out what we think is the best plan for them,” Lewis was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. 

The WPL dates came out very late: Lewis

England Women’s coach Jon Lewis attributed the delayed release of the WPL schedule, which came months after NZC confirmed England’s tour dates for the scheduling clash. The ECB informed the eight England players contracted to WPL that they must return from India before the knockout rounds to be eligible for selection in the first three T20Is. Consequently, Lauren Bell of UP Warriorz and Heather Knight of Royal Challengers Bangalore withdrew from their contracts last week as they cited this requirement.

“[The series] was in our diary for a very long period of time. The WPL dates came out very late. Moving forward, all the boards around the world will create a window for the WPL similar to the men’s game,” Lewis concluded.

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