Women cricketers, what a league!

Sudhirendar Sharma

After almost a lifetime of following cricket, first on radio and later on television, I have switched on to watching women’s cricket. While I have started skipping a few of the men’s matches, I try not to miss any international match that features our young girls. While my friends and family wonder at my new-found obsession, I have compelling reason for shifting my alliance.

Asked by a reporter who her favourite male cricketer was, the world’s leading run scorer and India’s captain, Mithali Raj, had responded, ‘Do you ask a male cricketer who his favourite female cricketer is?’ Emphatic! Confident! Bravo! It not only signalled the coming of age of women’s cricket in India, but also the sheer confidence with which the words were uttered. Nothing more was needed for me to back our girls.

Mithali, Harmanpreet, Smrithi and Jhulan are household names. Their batting and bowling is doing most of the talking! Mithali has the world’s highest 6,700 runs in one-day games; Jhulan’s 271 wickets are the most in the same format; Harmanpreet is the first woman to score a century in T20 cricket; and Smrithi was ICC Cricketer of the Year for 2018.

For those who still imagine that women’s cricket isn’t as exciting should consider this: Harmanpreet’s 171 not out against Australia in the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017 will remain etched in cricket history, like Kapil Dev’s 175 not out against Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup. Kapil Dev had hit 16 fours and six sixes in his 138-balls innings. Harmanpreet’s 171 runs off 115 balls were studded with 20 fours and seven sixes. No comparison, but it was power hitting at its best!

Women’s cricket should not be compared to men’s cricket. I agree with Mithali. It is evolving and building a fan base. Hailing from humble non-cricketing backgrounds, the girls are doing well to breach the male bastion. With live telecast of most matches now available, they are not only being watched, but also are attracting revenue from sponsors. With the women’s cricket league, on the IPL format, in the offing, the game will open a new avenue for talented girls to make it a career option.

Women may have been cheerleaders for men’s cricket, it is now time for men to cheer women cricketers. The scream for a leg-before; the call for a quick single, the holler for a catch, and the boisterous victory hugs add to the missing glamour quotient. There are any number of reasons for cricket fans to switch to the feminine version of the game. Don’t miss out!

Source Link: https://www.tribuneindia.com

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