England Women hopeful over behind-closed-doors return with India and South Africa Tri-Series considered

Malik Ouzia
Evening Standard
AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

England Women’s fixtures against India and South Africa could be turned into a Tri-Series later this summer, with the ECB fully committed to playing as much of the planned international programme as possible.

Managing director Clare Connor also revealed that plans are in place for players to return to training next month as part of a programme that is “three to four weeks” behind the men’s team, whose bowlers resumed individual training today.

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Professional cricket in England is suspended until at least July 1 because of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the white-ball series against India, which was due to start next month, has been postponed, while South Africa are scheduled to visit in September.

A condensed run of fixtures between all three sides, hosted behind-closed-doors by England, is one option being explored to make the most of the shortened summer, presuming the sport is given the green light to return.

"We're still really committed to being able to play as much as of our international women's programme later on in the summer,” Connor told PA.

"Whether that's two separate series against India and South Africa or even a tri-series, which is something we are exploring.

"All we can do is make the plans to be able to play and work with the venues that are likely to be involved in putting on that behind-closed-doors programme."

Eighteen of England’s male bowlers – some uncapped – began training today at seven county grounds, with batsmen and wicketkeepers expected to follow on June 1, in the hope that players will be ready to play international cricket behind-closed-doors by early July.

England's male bowlers such as James Anderson have returned to individual training (Getty Images)
England's male bowlers such as James Anderson have returned to individual training (Getty Images)

"Those same individualised return to training protocols will apply to the women's players,” Connor added. "We're looking to follow a very similar phased approach from later on in June so we'll probably be three to four weeks behind the England men's players.

"That's not through any lesser importance being placed on them but more of a reality of who's likely to play first and where we need to focus the immediate attention and physical and medical support.

"At least it will give our players, support staff and medical staff a chance to learn from how all that unfolds with the men."

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