Disparity in Women Cricket continues…. 13

The wait is over. Its January 30, 2013 and the Women’s Cricket World Cup is finally here. The event hosted by India following its 2011 Men’s team’s World Cup winning success, provided high amplified entertainment following Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh declaring the event open. The Eight captains came into the arena with decorated Rickshaws, just like their counterparts did in 2011. But the biggest cheer in the stadium was reserved for the host captain Mithali Raj as she waved to the crowd. It was followed by live acts from Bryan Adams and Sonu Nigam……

Sounds weird?

Of course It is….

Although wouldn’t it be surreal, If all this hoopla was actually part of the opening ceremony,If at all it ever took place for a Women’s Cricket World Cup. The mega-event which kick started in 1973, two years prior to its male edition has eight teams competing for the coveted glory this year. Of the eight teams, Australia leads the race with 5 World Cup wins, followed by England with 2 wins and then New Zealand with 1 World Cup victory. The Indian women’s team have always been in the reckoning but haven’t been able to convert their good starts into World Cup glory.

Hats off to Indian women at Cricket world cup

Hats off to Indian women at Cricket world cup

For a sport that is revered by 1.5 billion people, in a country that ranks Cricket 1 to 9 and nobody knows what comes after that is astonishing, but I am sure the Indian Women’s cricket team was not as surprised with the welcome they got into the stadium for their opening game against the West Indies. The stands were empty, fans were silent and once again 22 diminished spirits played the sport like the usually do. It was work as usual.

Len Hutton, one of the greatest Englishman to have played the sport had once said about Women Cricket.

“Ladies playing cricket is like a man trying to knit”.

Even after 40 years, when this comment was made, I don’t think mindsets have changed. If Cricket is not going to garner attention in India, I am scared about sportswomen playing other sports in the country.

Is it because,

1. Women just don’t Follow the sport ? Certainly not!

As per a 2011 survey conducted by leading UK based sports consultancy SMGYouGov, 76% of Urban Indian women in the age group of 13- 25 follow the game of Cricket regularly, 65% of which watched the 2011 Cricket World Cup. There is clearly no dearth of following of the sport within the female section of the country.

2. Lack of incentives for women cricketers – Possible.

On one hand we have the BCCI ( Board of Cricket Control in India) world’s richest cricket board , while on the other the Winner of the Senior women inter-state one-day championship takes home a prize money of meager 3 lakh( US$5640) , lesser than the winner of Vijay Merchant trophy for Under 16 Cricket which gets a prize money of 4 lakh (US $ 7520) based on Times of India’s article.

Disparity at such higher levels is horrendous and derogatory to International sportspeople of any country, let alone India.If you think It happens only in India, you are seriously wrong.

England’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport,  Maria Miller voiced her strong opinions on disparity in payment schemes for women cricketers in the UK. Where male cricketers received a daily allowance of 61 pounds ( US 96 dollars / Rs. 5118), the women cricketers only received 37 pounds (US 59 dollars / Rs. 3000).  All this, in a country which has a well-developed cricketing infrastructure in place.

If It took Kapil Dev’s 1983 World cup winning feat to galvanize the young Tendulkar’s to take up Cricket, I wonder what would it take to arouse the next generation of women sportsman to take up Cricket as a career option?

Despite all these limitations, there are Women in Cricket who are stamping their mark on a global stage.

Take for example, the 23 year old English Wicketkeeper-Batsman Sarah Taylor who was recently selected for Sussex Men’s Second XI team to represent English county this summer.

Keeping aside the debate, whether she should continue playing for the Men’s team in the long run or not, but the fact is she competed, performed and excelled in the game, where many did not think women would.

Or Jacquie Hey who in September of 2012 was appointed as one of the Board of Directors for Cricket Australia, the first woman to become a Board member in its 107 year old history beating the great Australian captain Mark Taylor for the position.

These are women who battled it out in the middle, playing the system’s inswinger’s and at the end managed to get the ball beyond the boundary.

The 2012 Gender gap report released by the World Economic Forum which quantifies gender based disparities by tracking their progress over time, ranks India 105th amongst 135 countries measured, lowest.

The recent accounts of Delhi gang rape, have unearthed a new picture of India to the World. The disparity is clear. Something is clearly amiss. It’s time the nation, its systems and the individuals in the system, start looking within themselves, otherwise India would keep getting bowled in its fight against disparity.

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13 thoughts on “Disparity in Women Cricket continues….

  1. Reply napte Feb 2, 2013 10:30 am

    Wonderful take on women empowerment.
    For any nations growth the role of women is very important.If you take the developed nations the contribution of women in all the sectors is predominantly eminent.Its high time we realize that upliftment of women is essential for our country’s growth.

    • Reply Rugved14 Feb 4, 2013 5:19 pm

      Cricket has become an act of male chauvinism. Its high time there are measures undertaken to make the sport an entertaining prospect for the female contingent.

  2. Reply Iravati Feb 4, 2013 7:47 am

    At the time when the country is introspecting on its attitudes towards women; giving women’s cricket the place and respect that it deserves could be a small but meaningful start. Very informative article ! Kudos to the author !

    • Reply Rugved14 Feb 4, 2013 5:21 pm

      Thank you Iravati for your comments! I just hope and wish that a Mithali Raj who has represented the country in 3 world cups and could very well be called the Women Tendulkar gets the recognition she deserves as only then will the outlook towards women would change. Sports and especially Cricket could very well be that medium.

  3. Reply Harshad Feb 23, 2013 7:20 pm

    Lisa Sthalekar from World Cup winning Team Australia was born in Pune :)
    She just retired.
    http://www.thenewstribe.com/2013/02/18/australias-lisa-sthalekar-quits-after-world-cup-triumph/

    Here is her wiki page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Sthalekar

    In India there is less awareness about fitness and developing athletic abilities which are world class. Top most players in India in any game lack that topnotch fitness. That is why we fall behind in fielding or lack golds in olympics. Government is also not concerned about effectively creating awareness and investing much more in India’s youth. For women the problem becomes worse.

    The responsibility lies on the shoulders of our generation to bring about the required change.

    • Reply Rugved14 Feb 25, 2013 1:24 pm

      Thanks Harshad! I had no idea Lisa Sthalekar was of Indian origin. That’s the advantage of blogging, I learn even more.
      The State of Indian sport is certainly dire and unless something is done It will only get worse.

  4. Reply Senem Mar 15, 2013 12:25 am

    As a Cricket fan of SL I can’t fully agree with him what he stated about Arjuna & 1996 WC. It was Sri Lankan born Australian ( Dave Whatmore) Cricketer (& the team mgannemeat) that should get the 80% of credit who had fined tuned & built confidence in the minds of our talented batsmen like Aravinda, Hashan & Mahanam (who could play risk-free innings) & bowlers like Murali, Vass & Dharmasena (who had total control over their bowling). If he was such a good captain & player, why he couldn’t do the same in 1999 as well? As for administration of SLC, it was him who should get the main responsibility for ousting of true, descent &qualified Administrators (that we had up to then) in rallying around with businessmen. His elder brother was a member of this chain of corrupted administrators.Whatever the circumstance would have been his behavior on that day in Australia was not a work of an intelligent person, he had no right to direct fingers at a match official. If he had been from any other country, his cricket career would have been over with that incident.Well-loved. (+20)

  5. Reply Monica Hariharan May 1, 2013 5:09 am

    Hi,

    I am Indian, and live in London at the moment. I also play locally for a cricket team at the division level. Here in the UK, the ECB does a good job of providing information to those interested in playing, with clubs getting incentives if they have a women’s team and encouraging women to take up the sports, starting at the school level.

    Back in 2007, I traced a contact number, and many transfers and phone calls, I was able to get in touch with someone who gave me relevant information and went on to try out for the women’s team in Chennai. To my surprise, the girls, young as 12-13 could bowl leg spin or whack a pull shot, just as well as a boy well over that age. Unsurprisingly, I was not selected. When we can produce such high quality talented cricketers, it is a pity that the information or access to it is not readily available.

    I am moving to Delhi soon, and am finding it considerably more difficult to find out whom to contact to see whether I can continue to play, at a recreational level, or get some coaching. So do let me know if anyone has any contacts!

    Thanks,
    Monica

    • Reply Monica Hariharan May 1, 2013 5:10 am

      Oh, and of course, thank you for this wonderful article!

    • Reply Rugved14 May 1, 2013 8:42 am

      Firstly thanks for your encouraging words.
      Great to hear that you represent the changing India in terms of Women Cricket and Cricketers. As you said, the state in Indian Women Cricket is appalling. But with social media and Web 2.0 there are certainly going to be avenues opening for Women Cricketers. It’s talented players like you that need a platform to display to the world. Send us your email id, in a month’s time we are going to be starting a revolution to change cricket forever. We would like you to take a look at it once it launches.

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