India women’s cricket team’s CWG 22 preparation on track despite visa delay

 The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is confident that the participation of the Indian women’s cricket team in the Commonwealth Games won’t be in jeopardy despite three players and three members of the support staff yet to receive their visas for the multi-sport event, which begins next week.

Sources in the BCCI have confirmed to  Sportstar that barring the six individuals, all other members of the squad received their visas on Friday afternoon. “We are constantly keeping track on the issue and the Indian Olympic Association has told us that the remaining visas should be reaching by Saturday,” a BCCI insider said, hoping that the team will be able to depart for Birmingham by early Sunday.

The team kits, too, are expected to reach the Indian camp by Saturday. “We understand that there is a rush to get visas to the UK and we are hopeful that things will be sorted soon,” the insider said. “The team is confident of success in the Commonwealth Games. It is a big event for the team and the players are excited and are eyeing a medal…”

The IOA, too, confirmed that a few visas are yet to arrive and stressed the fact that it is following up with the ‘concerned authorities’ to address the issue.

The team also had a COVID-19 scare in the team with a member testing positive for the virus. The concerned player is being monitored and a decision on whether a replacement is necessary will be taken ‘in due course of action’.

However, the players are not too concerned about the off-the-field hassles. Smriti Mandhana, the vice-captain of the team admitted on Friday that the team is eyeing a podium finish. “Our preparations have been really good and I hope it will lead us to the medal,” she said.

The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will open its campaign against Australia on July 29. 

“We have played against Australia in the openers in quite a lot of tournaments. In a T20 tournament, any team can beat any team. I wouldn’t term Australia as a big team and make them feel good about that. Definitely, in our heads, Australia, Pakistan and Barbados matches are important. We will go as they come and will look to win all of them,” Mandhana said.

India lost to Australia in its last T20 World Cup game earlier this year. But after enjoying success in the home series against Sri Lanka, the Indian team is confident of achieving the desired result in the Commonwealth Games. 

In 1998, men’s cricket was a feature in the CWG, and as the game returns to the fold after 24 years, India’s women’s team does not want to miss the bus.

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