Women's cricket: CA chief Hockley hopes India's tour of Australia will bring momentum back

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Sydney, Jun 3 (PTI) Women's cricket has suffered more than men because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said on Thursday, hoping that the upcoming tour by India here will 'get the momentum going again.' The Indian women's team's tour Down Under will commence with a three-match ODI series between September 19-24, followed by the one-off day-night Test from September 30 to October 3.

Thanking the BCCI for accepting its request, Hockley said the match would help in promoting the women's game.

'It is brilliant to see the growth of the game (women's cricket). We are very fortunate to have the T20 World Cup just before COVID hit the world last year. And these matches are about how to get the momentum going,' Hockley said while participating in a 12-hour gaming live stream to raise money for UNICEF Australia's India COVID Appeal.

'Women's cricket suffered more than men due to COVID. I thank the Indian team for having agreed to travel knowing that they will have to be in quarantine. It is a big investment.

'India would be looking to get back (at Australia) after the T20 World Cup defeat,' Hockley added.

India lost by 85 runs to Australia in the Women's T20 World Cup in March last year, just before the deadly virus hit the world.

The women's team's tour will conclude with a three-match T20I series from October 7-11. This will be India's first Test match Down Under since the Adelaide Test in 2006.

The match will also be the second day-night Test with a pink ball in women's cricket history after the drawn contest between Australia and England in Sydney in 2017.

It will also be the first time since 2014 that the Mithali Raj-led side will be competing in two Test matches in a calendar year.

They are scheduled to play a one-off Test against England in Bristol, starting June 16.

Top Australian cricketers, including star pace duo of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, participated in the 12-hour gaming live stream to raise funds for supporting India's fight against the pandemic.

The initiative, which is a brainchild of pacer Josh Lalor, allowed fans to watch the likes of Cummins, spinner Nathan Lyon and pacer Josh Hazlewood on a live stream where they showcased their gaming skills in a bid to raise AUD 100,000 for the noble cause.

The fundraiser also saw participation from all-rounder Moises Henriques, women's team cricketer Alyssa Healy and South African Rilee Rossouw among others.

Todd Greenberg, the CEO of the Australian Cricketers' Association, also made an appearance alongside Hockley.

Cummins, who had donated USD 50,000 from his own pocket for COVID relief in India, said he felt 'crazy' witnessing the spiralling number of positive cases while he was was India, playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in the now-suspended IPL 2021.

'I am lucky to be back in Australia. COVID hasn't affected us (Australia) as other parts of the world like India. The Indians are facing a tough time. Such was the situation, I thought to put a bit of money and help,' he said.

'I have been to India so many times but the in India the numbers were just crazy.' 'As cricketers we were in a bio-bubble detached from the outside world but talking to Indian teammates I came to know that every single person there has a COVID story.' Australian Cricket has so far raised more than AUD 280,000 as part of UNICEF Australia's India COVID-19 Crisis Appeal.

The Indian Premier League was also suspended mid-season last month after mutilple cases of COVID-19 were found in its bio-bubble. PTI SSC PM PM