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Sri Lanka bats against India in a Group A fixture played in Colombo | (Pic by Mushtaq Thasleem)

womens’ cricket

Women playing cricket is a very exciting option where the bat and ball game is concerned. Generally, it’s the men who get all the attention and take away the bigger piece of the cake when it comes to prize money in ICC-conducted tournaments. The time has arrived again for women cricketers to come under the spotlight in international sport provided they work hard at it.

When it comes to effort in anything they do, women have not left any stone unturned. Staring from chores at home to motherhood or whether serving the corporate sector, the role played by women has made men stand up and take note. Women have left their mark in sports like tennis, athletics and swimming, but it is a little intriguing and perplexing to notice that women cricket hasn’t produced any significant starts nor has it reached a global audience.

1The ICC has given women’s cricket a fair chance in the international stage. The world governing body for cricket has done this by bringing the ladies to the same venues that the men’s teams are featured during international tournaments. The last time they did feature in a gala cricket event was the T20 World Cup in India. It was inspiring to see the West Indies women cricketers winning accolades alongside their male cricketers as champion men’s and women’s cricket teams in the shortest form of international cricket.

Now it’s high time that women’s cricket in the world has produces some stars who can become household names. Sports like tennis, swimming and athletics have hugely benefitted by the superstars they’ve produced. There are a good number of sports ambassadors among them like Serena Williams in tennis and Missy Franklin in swimming. Just for thought, woman multi-athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill was dubbed ‘Poster Girl’ for the 2012 London Olympics while Katrina Adams was voted in as the first female president of USA Basketball. These flashes from the past underscore the heights women can reach in society and sport.

Women’s cricket needs to take cue from sports like tennis and swimming. These two sports offer female contestants the opportunity to showcase their sporting skills and womanly features. This is a requirement if women cricket is to appeal to a global audience. True enough cricket exhibited by women can draw attention, but individual attraction is something that also needs to be in the big picture of women’s cricket. Like the World Tennis Association is so keen on maintaining certain requirements when it comes to the attire of female players, it’s time the ICC designs something flashy for the women’s cricketers who play in the international scene.

It’s always easy for a women’s team to find its way in the international scene if the country has a well-established men’s team in the same sport. This is where teams like Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, England, South Africa and Australia are going to be hugely benefitted.

Sri Lanka will no doubt be benefitted as the host nation for this World Cup qualifier given that there is a cricket crazy audience waiting to cheer them. But the cheers will come only on merit. Going down memory lane, there have been a couple of occasions when the national men’s cricket team, in the early nineteen-nineties, were booed by fans for caving in without a fight against foreign opposition. Just a reminder that nasty things do happen in this sport which is generally tagged as a ‘gentleman’s game’.

Coming back to women’s cricket in Sri Lanka, much has been written about the lack of professionalism in the side. The absence of commitment in the women’s cricket camp has also been highlighted. These could be reasons why there has been a decline in the performances of Sri Lanka’s women cricketers.

Now, comes the chance for Sri Lanka’s cricketers to rise to the occasion as big as a World Cup qualifier. Four teams will make it from Sri Lanka to London for the ‘Big Cricket Show’ which will be held from June 24 to July 23.

The Sri Lankan lasses need to find their feet in the game. They have to produce some stars who can take a team through ‘rough sea’. The Sri Lankan team has enough individuals who can provide great starts, but the ‘lionesses’ need players who can finish off a game. This is a nation that has a lion in its national flag. But out in the jungle it the lioness who hunts. It’s the female who brings home the catch. Sri Lanka cricket’s lionesses need to hunt now. If they’ve forgotten this skill they need to be taught again!

The captains standing from left are : Sornnarin Tippoch (Thailand), Sana Mir (Pakistan), Mithali Raj (India), Laura Delany (Ireland) and Abbi Aitken (Scotland). (Pics by Eshan Dassanayake)
The captains standing from left are : Sornnarin Tippoch (Thailand), Sana Mir (Pakistan), Mithali Raj (India), Laura Delany (Ireland) and Abbi Aitken (Scotland). (Pics by Eshan Dassanayake)
Sri Lanka captain Inoka Ranaweera (Centre) addresses the media at a press conference held in connection with the ICC Women’s World Cup qualifier which the islanders will host from February 7 to 21. The other team captains in the picture from left are Pauke Siaka (Papua New Guinea), Sharne Delany (Zimbabwe), Rumana Ahmed (Bangladesh) and Dane Van Niekerk (South Africa)
Sri Lanka captain Inoka Ranaweera (Centre) addresses the media at a press conference held in connection with the ICC Women’s World Cup qualifier which the islanders will host from February 7 to 21. The other team captains in the picture from left are Pauke Siaka (Papua New Guinea), Sharne Delany (Zimbabwe), Rumana Ahmed (Bangladesh) and Dane Van Niekerk (South Africa)