Why should we watch women’s cricket? Women’s sports have existed for centuries throughout the world. They date back to the same time period when men’s sports started to flourish, but its popularity rose only in the late 21st century. The number of women who play professional sports varies from each country and sport, but women sportspersons today no more remain mere adjuncts to their male counterparts. Despite the huge disparity in pay and lack of media attention, women’s sports have been growing slowly but steadily.
The first recorded match of women’s cricket, as per recorded history, was played on 26 July 1745. And it was in December 1934 when the first international game was played – the first-ever Test match, between England and Australia. At present, women’s cricket has the ODI and T20 World Cups as its pinnacle events, and the Indian women’s team has performed well in both. India were the runner-up in the ODI World Cup two years ago, and have progressed into the semi-final of the on-going T20 World Cup in Australia.
As the Indian women’s cricket team fights for their first-ever world title, here we look at five reasons why you should watch women’s cricket.
Women’s World Cup was played even before men’s World Cup
Most people will tell you that the first cricket World Cup was organised in England in June 1975. But that is not entirely true. That was the first edition of the men’s World Cup. Two years prior to that, the women’s World Cup was played. In 1973 in England, seven women’s teams participated in the first-ever Women’s Cricket World Cup.
The teams were – New Zealand, England, Young England, Australia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and International XI. England won the silverware by finishing first on the points table.
Four consecutive ODI Centuries
One of the biggest records in women’s cricket was created in 2017. New Zealand batter Amy Satterthwaite scored four consecutive centuries. Her first three came against Pakistan and the fourth one against Australia.
Although this same record is held in men’s cricket too – Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara hit four consecutive centuries in 2015. The fact that it has never again been emulated in men’s cricket highlights its significance.
First double century in ODIs
Sachin Tendulkar scripted history in 2010 when he scored 200* against South Africa in Gwalior. He became the first male cricketer to score a double century in ODI cricket. But this record was achieved way before by the women’s team.
Australia’s Belinda Clark scored an unbeaten 229 in 1997 against Denmark and became the first cricket player – male or female – to score in excess of a double ton in an ODI inning. Clark held this record for nearly two decades until India opener Rohit Sharma made 264 against Sri Lanka in 2014 in Kolkata.
No foul activities
Unlike in men’s cricket, no foul activities have ever been reported in the history of women’s cricket. There has been no match-fixing or spot-fixing scandals ever and that makes the game even more respectable. In men’s cricket, dozens of such scandals have been reported in the past.
Women’s cricket is not about sponsorships, glitz and attention. The girls love the game and do the best they can for their country without ever bringing shame to it.
Why should sport have a gender bias?
One of the biggest reasons you should watch women’s cricket is to eradicate gender bias from every thread of society. With women bringing laurels in every field – from flying an aircraft to governing a country – there is no reason why women’s sport should be seen as a branch of men’s sports.
Harmanpreet Kaur can bat as good as Virender Sehwag, Smriti Mandhana’s drives will remind you of Adam Gilchrist and Poonam Yadav’s bowling can outclass Yuzvendra Chahal’s. Not to forget, Ellyse Perry’s courage will remind you of Anil Kumble. For starters, Perry took to the field with an injured ankle against West Indies. She made a 22-ball 25; followed by bowling figures of 10-3-19-3, which crumbled West Indies’ batting backbone.
And you still think women’s cricket is not worth watching?