#Controversy Alert: Who Cares About Women’s Cricket Anyway?




Photo of Ellyse Perry (Controversy Alert: Who Cares About Women's Cricket Anyway?)
Momentum for Women's Cricket Took a Hit After the Epic 2020 World T20 World Cup.

Controversy of the Day: Nobody cares about women’s cricket.

Women’s CricketCan’t Live With It, Can Definitely Live Without It.

At least that is the attitude of cricket administration and media around the world.

Today news came in that the BCCI finally decided to organize women’s matches, simultaneously with the men’s Vijay Hazare Trophy & the Vinoo Mankad U-19 Trophy. After the 4 match Women’s T20 Challenge, there is something to look forward to for the Indian Women team.

Is it enough, though? How are all the other women international teams faring during this time? Why did we get here? Could more have been done over the last year?

So many questions…Don’t worry, I got you.

Post-COVID statistics between Women’s Vs Men’s cricket, looking ahead to 2021, facts about the women’s game we should all know as cricket fans, and the way forward for women’s cricket. 

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: What Can Ellyse Perry Not Do?, What If Indian Women Won the 2017 ICC Cricket World Cup?

Rise of Women’s Cricket

March 8th, 2020—the peak for Women’s Cricket at the World T20 World Cup Final between Australia & India.

86, 174 spectators.

Following the monumental 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, women’s cricket began moving in a positive direction. Casual cricket fans began to take notice, fan following increased for the likes of Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning, & Smriti Mandhana, and representation in broadcasting expanded with Lisa Sthalekar, Isa Guha, & Ebony Rainford-Brent among others. Investment rose with the Women Big Bash League (WBBL), Kia Super League, & even the Women’s T20 Challenge. The highly anticipated experiment, The Hundred, was scheduled simultaneously with the men’s version for last summer.

The rise continued & on the auspicious International Women’s Day, the record number of spectators at the Women’s 2020 T20 World Cup confirmed Mithali Raj’s statement, “Truly I believe women’s cricket has come in the mainstream now.”

Momentum Halts For Women’s Cricket

March 8th, 2020—also the last time since India Women took field.

None. Zero. Nada.

It has been almost 11 months without any international cricket, domestic competition, or even a national training camp. Meanwhile, Indian men have played a 60-match IPL, & toured Australia from November-January for a 3-T20I, 3 ODI, and 4 classic Test matches. India women’s 3 match ODI tour of Australia scheduled in January? Cancelled due to coronavirus at the end of December. Explain that…

The momentum has truly been halted. Not only India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh women have not had much cricket either (although training camp has started for Bangladesh). Even the inaugural edition of the Hundred was postponed.

The second edition of men’s Indian Premier League post-COVID is about to begin in a couple of months and a 10-team IPL is rumored in 2022. On the other hand, after the gigantic leap from 1 match in 2018 to 4 matches in 2019, the Women T20 Challenge did not expand in 2020. And guess what? Those who participated in the Challenge were robbed of the opportunity to play WBBL due to bio-bubble regulations.

The biggest casualty, though was the earlier scheduled 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup.

Starting next week, from February 6th-March 7th, New Zealand was supposed to host World Cup. YES, New Zealand, the country best placed to host an international event in these circumstances. Yet, in August the ICC postponed it due to ‘disparity in level of preparedness’ between the different countries.

Men’s Vs Women’s Cricket: Post-Covid Statistics

Thanks to the ECB and their bio-secured bubble protocols, cricket started back with the England-West Indies Test Series. Since then, both men’s & women’s cricket restarted, but here is a table that shows the disparity of the amount of games played.

Since July, the men have had a maximum possible 128 days of international cricket scheduled (5 days maximum per test) as opposed to just 16 days for the women (5 of which were Austria Vs Germany T20I). Across formats & countries, men have clocked in 540 matches, while women have played a mere 144 matches.

Men’s CricketWomen’s Cricket
International Matches Played (June 2020-January 2021)56 matches
(18 Tests, 17 ODIs, 21 T20Is)
*excludes 16 matches
16 matches
(0 Tests, 3 ODIs, 13 T20Is)
*including Austria-Germany 5 T20Is
T10 & T20 Leagues Played Around the World 206 matches
(CPL, IPL, SLPL, BBL, T10 League)
63 matches
(Women’s T20 Challenge, BBL)
Domestic Cricket 278 matches
(Syed Mustaq Ali, Vitality Blast, Super Smash NZ, Bob Willis Trophy)
65 matches
(Ireland Super50, Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Super Smash NZ)
International Scheduled Matches For 2021 (So Far)96 matches
(24 T20Is, 12 ODIs, 15 Tests including WTC Final + 45 match 2021 T20 World Cup)
18 matches
(9 ODIs, 9 T20Is)
Total Matches (Mar 2020-2021)
*excluding T20/Domestic Leagues for 2021
636 matches162 matches
Post-Covid Men’s & Women’s Cricket Summary

*Table does not include the 3 Eng-SA & the 2 Ire-UAE ODIs that were cancelled due to COVID.

Series Summary

Here are the details of the various series, leagues, & domestic tournaments played over the last year.

*Australia (Aus), New Zealand (NZ), India (Ind), England (Eng), Sri Lanka (SL), South Africa (SA), Pakistan (Pak), West Indies (WI), Bangladesh (Ban), Zimbabwe (Zim), Ireland (Ire), & Afghanistan (Afg).

International Matches Played (June 2020-January 2021)

Men’s
  • WI tour Eng (3 Tests), Pak tour Eng (3 Tests, 3 T20I), Ire tour Eng (3 ODIs), Aus tour Eng (3 T20Is, 3 ODIs)
  • Zim tour Pak (3 ODI, 3 T20I), Ire tour UAE (4 ODIs – 2 cancelled), Ire Vs Afg (3 ODI)
  • Eng tour SA (3 T20I, ODIs abandoned), SL tour SA (2 Tests), Eng tour SL (2 Tests)
  • WI tour NZ (3 T20I, 2 Tests), Pak tour NZ (3 T20I, 2 Tests)
  • Ind tour Aus (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is, 4 Tests)

*Excludes 16 games played by Guersney, Isle of Man, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria, Malta, Romania

Women’s
  • Austria tour Germany (5 T20I)
  • WI tour England (5 T20I)
  • NZ tour Aus (3 ODI, 3 T20I)

T10 & T20 Leagues Played Around the World

  • Men: Caribbean Premier League (33 matches), Indian Premier League (60), Sri Lanka Premier League (23), Big Bash League (61), T10 League (29)
  • Women: WBBL (59 matches), IPL Exhibition games (4)

Domestic Cricket

  • Men: Bob Willis Trophy (Eng – 46 matches), 2020 T20 Vitality Blast (Eng – 97), 32 Super Smash (NZ – 32), Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy (India – 103)
  • Women: Super50 Cricket Series (Ire – 8 matches), Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy (Eng – 25)

Schedule Lookout for 2021

Well if you thought 2020 was bad, 2021’s schedule does not seem like a drastic improvement either. Sure, just like the Vijay Hazare & Vinoo Mankad, more matches may be scheduled later, but the number of planned games in 2021 tells you the story.

Women’s Cricket 2021 Schedule

According to the ICC Fixtures for the next year, Women’s cricket looks as follows:

  1. Pak tour SA (3 ODI, 3 T20I): Jan 20-Feb 3 (Ongoing)
  2. Eng tour NZ (3 ODI, 3 T20I): Feb 23-Mar 5
  3. Aus tour NZ (3 ODI, 3 T20I): Mar 27-Apr 10

After this, the next scheduled international fixture is the postponed 2022 Women’s World Cup that begins on March 4th, 2022. Domestically, apart from women’s edition of Vijay Hazare & Vinoo Mankad U-19, Australia National Cricket League (28 matches) has been announced, with The Hundred, Women Big Bash League, & Women’s T20 Challenge possibly returning for 2021.

Men’s Cricket Schedule 2021

While international women’s cricket as a whole has only been scheduled 18 limited overs matches in 2021, the Men’s England Test team alone are slotted 17 Test Matches (18 if they reach the WTC final), apart from the T20 World Cup & other bilateral series.

Currently, WI tour of Ban (3 ODI, 2 Tests) & SA tour of Pak (2 Tests, 3 T20Is) are ongoing, with the England tour of India (4 Tests, 5 T20I, 3 ODI), IPL 2021 (60 matches), & The Hundred on the horizon.

  • 51 matches planned in 2021 (24 T20Is, 12 ODIs, 15 Tests including WTC Final)
  • 45 match ICC Men’s T20I World Cup October-November (in India)

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Did You Know?

Who was the first cricketer to score a double century in ODI? Umm..Sachin Tendulkar 200* Vs South Africa in 2010, right? Wrong. It was actually Belinda Clark’s 229* in the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup.

The real question is, do we ourselves pay enough attention to Women’s Cricket or just hypocritically vouch for the women’s game?

We all know about Tendulkar’s 100 100s, Bradman’s 99.94, Muralitharan’s 800, Sharma’s 264. For our collective cultural enhancement, here is a short list of statistics and facts we should all know about Women’s Cricket.

Numbers & Facts in Women’s Cricket We Should All Know

*Note, this stats are divided by format: Test | ODI | T20I .

Batting

  • Most Runs: 1935 – Jan Brittin (Eng) | 6,888 – Mithali Raj (Ind) | 3301 – Suzie Bates (NZ)
  • Highest Score: 242 – Kiran Baluch (Pak) | 232* – Amelia Kerr (NZ) | 148* – Alyssa Healy (Aus)
  • Most 100s/50+: 5 (100s)/16 (50+) – Jan Brittin (Eng), 14 (100s) – Meg Lanning (Aus)/ 60 (50+) – Mithali Raj (Ind) | 22 (50+) Suzie Bates (NZ) (several players with 2 T20I centuries)
  • Highest Partnership: 309 – Lindsay Reeler & Denise Annets (Aus) | 320 – Deepti Sharma & Poonam Raut (Ind) | 257 Yulia Anggraeni & Kadek Winda Prastini (Indonesia)

Bowling

  • Most Wickets: 77 – Mary Duggan (Eng) | 225 – Jhulan Goswami (Ind) | 120 – Anisa Mohammed (WI)
  • Best Figures Innings: 8/53 – Neetu David (Ind) | 7/4 – Sajjida Shah (Pak) | 6/0 – Anjali Chand (Nepal)
  • Most 5-fers: 5 – Shubhangi Kulkarni (Ind) | 6 -Anisa Mohammed (WI) | 7 (4-fers+) – Anisa Mohammed (WI)
  • Best Figures Match/ Most 10-fers (Tests): 13/226 – Shaiza Khan (Pak) / 2 10-fers – Betty Wilson (Aus)

Wicket-Keeping/Fielding

  • Most Catches (Fielding): 25 – Carole Hodges (Eng) | 67 – Suzie Bates (NZ) | 64 – Suzie Bates (NZ)
  • Most Dismissals (Keeper): 58 – Christina Matthews (Aus) | 160 – Trisha Chetty (SA) | 93 – Alyssa Healy (Aus)

Teams

  • Highest Team Total: 569/6 declared Aus (vs Eng) | 491/5 NZ (Vs Ire) | 314/2 Uganda (Vs Mali)
  • World Cups: ODIs – Aus (6 times), Eng (4), NZ (1) | T20Is – Aus (5 times), Eng (1), WI (1)

A Way Forward

Australia, England, & New Zealand are historically the most successful women cricket teams and rightly so. They have invested in women’s cricket for decades & are broadening the recruitment of young girls in cricket. Other countries lag behind in the recruitment, infrastructure, & investment.

In the COVID era, the template provided by NZ’s Super Smash, India’s Vijay Hazare, & England’s Hundred should become common. The corresponding matches for the same teams should be played on the same day for both the men & women respectively. This may help out with spectators & TV revenues as well.

This is definitely possible for domestic competitions & T20 leagues, but should even be considered for international tours as well, at least for the limited overs leg.

These are just some limited thoughts, but there are limitless ideas to promote women’s cricket if enough focus is given to this part of the sport.

Supply & Demand

More needs to be done for Women’s Cricket in current times. If this break continues longer, experienced players will start to retire, budding youngsters might not receive opportunity (and hence, may leave the sport altogether), and the compounding loss of revenue will hurt women’s cricket for generations to come.

If the ICC and national boards do not ramp up support in 2021, as Anjum Chopra called it, Women’s Cricket will remain just as an ‘add on’ feature, and nothing more. Who knows, instead of waiting for their next opportunity, the likes of Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami should just retire now, join administration, take matters in their own hands, fix women’s cricket administration, un-retire and play.

Women Cricket’s current status can be summarized with the saying, “If you are not at table, you are on the menu.”

Hope Remains

Although the coronavirus break as halted the momentum, hope remains. With the T20 international status open to several countries now, smaller nations like Thailand & Nepal have taken large strides. With role models like Ellyse Perry & Sophie Devine (see below), more girls have taken up the sport seriously.

Finally, us fans can themselves can help in the resurgence of momentum. The entire game is about supply & demand. Men’s cricket & the IPL generates a lot of revenue. Hence, T20 cricket remains essential at possibly the expense of Test cricket. Similarly, women’s cricket is less profitable and hence, gets less support. So, we should demand more women’s cricket and encourage girls to take the sport up.

Fans need to get involved. Bloggers (including me) should write more on women’s cricket. You should tweet more on women’s cricket. Watch lots of videos, look up more stats, & make women’s cricket viral. Get the media involved. Slowly & steadily, women’s cricket administration will take notice & invest more.

Anyway, I will leave you all with a classy Sophie Devine, who recently scored the fastest T20 century in women’s cricket (36 balls), but her sportsmanship & humanity was the highlight.

So there you go. Lots of controversy, with a tinge of hope.

Copyright (2021: 1/30/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Embed from Getty Images

Image Courtesy: Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons, Getty Images

Sources: ICC Results (Women) ICC Results (Men), ICC Fixtures 2021 (Women), ICC Fixtures 2021 (Men)




Nit X
About Nit-X 222 Articles
I dreamt of being a No. 3 batsman saving test matches and hitting winning runs. Well, that did not exactly go to plan, but I have since become an avid follower of the game. As long as there is a live cricket, you can guarantee that I will be checking the scorecards, watching the game live on TV, and certainly, discussing the game and statistics with family and friends.

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