Two teams belonging to the same country, however, one happens to be the apple of the eye and the other a victim of indifference. This is true regarding the two categories of Indian cricket teams right now: men’s team and women’s team. Men’s team gets whatever they want: hefty contracts, practice matches as per their wishes, paternity leave midway through an important series etc. However, the women team has no such luck as it does not even get a proper calendar of events and at times even planned series are also cancelled. BCCI, the world’s richest cricket body, hardly does anything to change the status quo. As a result, the women’s cricket team despite putting up incredible performances suffers badly due to administrative apathy.
Recently, the Indian women team played a one-off test against England on a used wicket, would the men’s team be treated similarly. Coming back to the Test, India fought back brilliantly to eke out a draw against their English counterparts. There was complete silence over the feat. Now, imagine men’s team instead of women’s team and you can imagine the kind of frenzy it would have created. This attitude must change for the betterment of the game.
The BCCI on its part, indirectly via its sycophant media persons, makes it very apparent that women’s cricket is not at all lucrative. The word is being spread that there is no audience, so advertisers are showing zilch interest. This convenient conclusion called “no audience” cuts no ice with the discernible. For example, as per broadcasters during every World Cup, in both formats, the viewership has only gone up. In fact, the ICC’s official press release said that the final of the 2020 World Cup happens to be the most viewed event in the history of women’s cricket and the second most-watched event in cricket history post the 2019 men’s World Cup. In such a scenario, lame excuses from the richest cricket body in the world will not work.
Former India Captain and current BCCI boss, Saurav Ganguly, has shed some light on the growing popularity of women’s cricket, “The women’s cricket world over has taken off.” Indicating that women’s cricket also needs some backing, Ganguly said, “It’s very important that we continue with the talent, it’ll only get bigger.”
However, these remarks come across as hollow statements as Ganguly himself was part of the decision to eliminate three tours that were scheduled much in advance. Also, he presided over a messy scenario where players assembled at Lucknow for the South Africa series without knowing who all are in and who all aren’t. All these prove that the “Prince of Kolkata” has lost his mojo after the tumultuous events during the infamous Chappel era and at present only wants to relax on the BCCI president’s chair.
Hence, the time is ripe for the BCCI to step in and address these important issues. If they can reschedule men’s events at the cost of some coveted international tournaments, then they can certainly do a better job in scheduling the matches for women. The recent Test yet again proved that there is talent in abundance as far as women cricket is concerned and it is all about nurturing the same. Only if BCCI takes half the interest it shows for the men’s events, women’s category of the game can also flourish in India.