In a recent edition, The Hindu, The Times of India and Hindustan Times wrote around 100 words about an event which is taking place these days. Dainik Bhaskar, a leading Hindi daily had no news about it at all. It was the same story with all the national newspapers. The event: Women’s Cricket World Cup being held in Australia currently.
In India, cricket is more than a game. But going by the coverage given to women’s cricket, looks like it is only the male version of the game that has made India a cricket-crazy country.
Why is there such a discrepancy between both the versions in terms of audience response? Akash Chopra, a former Indian cricket player says, “A very few people want to spend their money on a women’s cricket match. The situation is no different in other parts of the world too. I am not sure what the reasons are, but they certainly are affecting the game”.
Referring to the status cricket has gained in India, cricket commentator Iftikar Ahmed informs, “Cricket has set a standard for itself over the ages. The present generation is playing better cricket and setting higher standards. Problems arise as women’s cricket has not been able to meet these standards”.
The performance is not the singular reason for the dismal responses of the audience and the sponsors. There are other factors like glamourisation too. Yusuf Kabir, a senior journalist at the Statesman and an ardent cricket fan says, “Nowadays market viability plays an important role in promoting any game. As far as men’s cricket, IPL or Sania Mirza is concerned, all this has been successfully commodified and glamorized by the market powers, the sponsor. Women’s cricket is lacking behind.”
Rajeev Katara of Hindustan Times shares similar views. “Everything depends on people’s response, wherever people show their interest, media and sponsors follow suit. ESPN is broadcasting the live coverage of women’s World Cup but who will see this game if men cricket is happening simultaneously? To grab people’s attention women’s cricket needs to improve its level,” he says.
The various cricket boards as well as the International Cricket Council are providing a platform to women’s cricket. Experts believe that the media coverage of this World Cup has been phenomenal, when compared to the other previous editions. However it is now up to the women players to capitalize on it and make the game more popular with their consistent performances.
Blurb: It is a country where cricket is a religion and cricketers are god. But a closer look at the game and one finds that the picture is not so rosy when it comes to Indian women playing the same game.
Summary: The world cup is on. But the fever is not. Women’s cricket is suffering due to the lack of patronage from the spectators, sponsors as well as the media. But are they to be blamed? Or is it the players themselves who with their dull performances are keeping the game away from being popular?
A look at the WC finals
TEAM MATCH PLAYED WON
AUSTRALIA 7 5
NEW ZEALAND 3 1
INDIA 1 0
Indian women’s performance in one day matches:
PLAYED WON LOST TIED NR
168 86 77 1 4
Indian women’s performance in test matches:
PLAYED WON LOST DRAW
34 3 6 25