Cricket has been an integral part of life ever since our childhood and while growing up. Every child has played this sport at least once in their life. While everyone played it when they were small. But when it was time to think of cricket as a career option, it is thought that only boys can make a career out of it. This thinking existed even a while ago, but the time has changed now. Women’s cricket has taken the world by storm now and every country has a women’s team and even domestic cups like big bash league are being organised for women. The appearance of legends like MIthali Raj, Jhulan Goswami has inspired many girls to take up this sport and break the chains of gender discrimintation that was eminent in the sports ground.
But how did women’s cricket start?
After the first world war many womens sporting organisations were formed that encouraged women to play sports. The Women’s cricket association was also formed after that. The International women’s team council was established in 1958. And soon many countries like Australia and England became part of it. Soon came the idea of hosting a women’s world cup.
As a result the first women’s cricket world cup was held in 1973 that included seven team. This gave a significant importance to women’s cricket.
After the numbers kept growing, the International Cricket Council(ICC) took charge of women’s cricket in 2005, after which there was no turning back.
The emergence of T20 cricket turned out to be a decisive point for women’s team. A 20 over each side thriller that keeps the audience glued to their seats for 5 hours straight was exactly what women’s cricket needed. The first ever women’s T20 international took place on 5th August 2004 between England and Newzeland. Fast forward to 2007 the first interstate women’s competition started in Australia that paved the way for the women’s big bash league that started in 2015.
Also the first women’s T20 world cup took place in 2009 in England just 2 years after the inaugural men’s T20 world cup and was won by the hosts. The last edition was women’s T20 world cup took place in 2020 in Australia where the finals was the most viewed match in women’s history where more than 89000 whooping people turned up at the MCG to watch the finals. These numbers speak a lot about the positive growth of women’s cricket and how the future looks good for them.
Another milestone was achieved in women’s cricket this year when for the first time women’s cricket featured in the commonwealth games 2022. This year’s commonwealth games took place in Birmingham that saw sportsmen from many countries take part in this grand event. For the first time women’s team became a part of this tournament and surely our girls didn’t disappoint us. The Indian Women’s team played fantastic cricket throughout the tournament and reached the finals. Unfortunately , they couldn’t defeat the Australians in the finals. And had to settle for the silver medal and New Zealand managed to clinch the bronze medal.
What lies ahead?
Times have surely changed. But it is still a long way to go till women’s cricket gets the same recognition as that of men’s cricket. One major disadvantage that the women’s division still faces is the payment difference. Their men’s counterparts get a very huge chunk compared to women’s team. One reason for that is women’s cricket generates less revenue than men’s team. And men cricketers have a strong brand hold in the market. Few years ago RCB suggested the start of a mix tournament where both men and women will play in the same team. But this proposal was promptly rejected by the BCCI as they thought it would not be a profitable idea.
Apart from that we have heard about many incidents where men get to fly in business class. But the women had to manage with economy class. This issue is not only prevalent in India but in other countries too. Another disadvantage is the lack of nations participating in the game. Men’s cricket has seen a substantial rise in the number of associate countries in the last two decades. But this is not the same for women’s team. It is important to help other countries get into the playing circuit to uplift women’s cricket. Overall we can say that women’s cricket has come a long way since its inception. But their surely is a long way to go.