KOCHI: Thiruvananthapuram will host the women’s ODI and T20I series between India and South Africa in March. Though the fixtures are yet to be finalized, it is understood that the teams will play five ODIs and three T20Is, all at the Sports Hub, beginning on March 7. These matches will be the return of the Indian women’s team to the cricket field after the Covid-induced break of almost one year.
The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) office-bearers and BCCI joint-secretary Jayesh Geroge had a meeting with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan last week seeking permission to conduct the matches adhering to Covid-19 protocols. “The government has agreed to let us host matches at the Sports Hub in a bio-secure environment. The Sports Hub has been used as a Covid first-line treatment centre till now. We will now have to sanitize the whole venue and make other necessary arrangements. The pitches and the ground have been maintained well despite the Covid situation. So that won’t be a concern,” Sajan Varghese, KCA president, told TOI.
The players, support staff and other officials will have to be quarantined once they enter the bio-bubble. “We will be needing nearly 100 rooms to accommodate the players, support staff, match officials, telecast crew etc for the duration of the tour. They are likely to be put up in one of the hotels in Kovalam,” said Sajan.
The Indian women’s team has not played an international match since their T20 World Cup final defeat to Australia in Melbourne last March. Their last ODI was in November 2019. Apart from the Women’s T20 Challenge held as part of the 2020 IPL in UAE, Indian players have had hardly any competitive cricket since the lockdown began in March. South Africa, meanwhile, are coming off the back of ODI and T20I series wins against Pakistan at home.
These fixtures will also be the first international matches in Kerala after India’s T20I against West Indies in 2019 December.