Indian women’s cricket has struggled for recognition and support since the beginning in a country where cricket is considered a religion. However, over the last few years, Indian women’s cricket has been breaking barriers and gaining traction, inspiring a new generation of young girls to take up the sport.
Cricket has always been a male-dominated sport in India, and it is not uncommon to see young boys playing cricket in every nook and corner of the country. On the other hand, girls playing cricket were often looked down upon, and their talent went unnoticed. But in recent years, women’s cricket has been making significant strides, thanks to the efforts of players, coaches, and administrators who have worked tirelessly to promote the sport in the country on the parallel gender.
2017 Cricket World Cup and the Breakthrough for Indian Women’s Cricket
One of the biggest breakthroughs for Indian women’s cricket came in 2017 when the Indian women’s cricket team reached the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup. The team’s performance captured the imagination of the nation and inspired many young girls to take up cricket. The team’s captain, Mithali Raj, became a household name overnight, and her success paved the way for other women cricketers to follow in her footsteps.
Another significant milestone for Indian women’s cricket was the introduction of the Women’s T20 Challenge in 2018. The tournament, which is played alongside the Indian Premier League (IPL), features three teams comprising the best women cricketers from India and around the world. The tournament has helped to showcase the talents of women cricketers and has given them a platform to shine.
Apart from these, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken several steps to promote women’s cricket in the country. The BCCI has increased the number of domestic tournaments for women and has introduced central contracts for women cricketers. These contracts provide financial security and stability to women cricketers and encourage them to focus on their game.
However, despite these positive developments, Indian women’s cricket still faces several challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of infrastructure and facilities. Many women cricketers in India do not have access to proper training facilities or coaching. They often have to make do with inadequate equipment and training grounds. This lack of infrastructure and support hampers their progress and makes it difficult for them to compete at the international level.
Another significant challenge is the lack of exposure and opportunities. Indian women’s cricket is not as popular or as well-funded as men’s cricket, which means that women cricketers often miss out on opportunities to play in high-profile tournaments or leagues. This lack of exposure makes it difficult for women cricketers to develop their skills and gain experience, which is essential for success at the international level.
Despite these challenges, Indian women’s cricket is making steady progress. The success of the Indian women’s cricket team and the introduction of the Women’s T20 Challenge have given the sport a much-needed boost, and more and more girls are taking up cricket as a career option. The BCCI’s efforts to promote women’s cricket have also helped to raise the profile of the sport and provide opportunities for young women cricketers to showcase their talents.
The rise of women’s cricket in India has also had a significant impact on society. It has challenged traditional gender roles and broken-down stereotypes about women’s abilities. Women cricketers in India are now seen as role models and inspirations to young girls who aspire to achieve success in the field of sports. The success of women’s cricket in India has also brought attention to the need for gender equality in sports and the importance of providing equal opportunities to women.
Cricket, often referred to as a gentleman’s game, has been a male-dominated sport in India for centuries. But over the past few years, there has been a seismic shift in the cricketing landscape of the country. Women’s cricket is now gaining popularity at an unprecedented rate and breaking barriers that have been in place for far too long.
Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami – the stalwarts of Indian Women’s Cricket
The Indian women’s cricket team, led by Mithali Raj, has been at the forefront of this revolution where another veteran Jhulan Goswami also has a significant contribution as well. With a number of impressive performances in recent years, the team has emerged as one of the top sides in the world. They have made it to the finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup twice, in 2005 and 2017, and reached the semi-finals in the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20.
However, the journey to reach this stage has not been an easy one. For years, Indian women’s cricket was a neglected and underfunded sport. There were few opportunities for girls to play the sport, and even if they did, they faced a lack of proper infrastructure, equipment, and coaching. But with the increasing visibility and success of the Indian women’s cricket team, the perception towards the sport has started to change. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken notice and has started to invest more in women’s cricket.
One of the key drivers of this change has been the Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI). The WCAI was formed in 1973, but it was only in recent years that it started to gain more attention and recognition. The association has been instrumental in providing a platform for women to play cricket at various levels, from school to international.
The WCAI has also been active in organizing tournaments and leagues for women’s cricket. The Women’s T20 Challenge, which started in 2018, has been a particularly significant event. It is a three-team tournament that takes place during the playoffs of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The tournament has given women cricketers the opportunity to showcase their skills as well. And, eventually, the first edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) happened this year which broke many boundaries too.
One of the major barriers that Indian women’s cricket has faced is the lack of media coverage. Cricket is a sport that is heavily followed by the Indian media, but until recently, women’s cricket was largely ignored. However, with the success of the Indian women’s cricket team, there has been a significant increase in media coverage.