New Delhi: Indian women’s cricket team skipper Mithali Raj said on Tuesday that the live coverage of the women’s World Cup and the public attention that it garnered due to social media helped increase the face of the sport in the country.
The Indian eves put up a valiant show in the tournament and even knocked out former champions Australia en route to the final but failed to cross the line in the end by an agonizing margin of nine runs. This was second World Cup final after they had qualified for the finals way back in 2005.
“In 2005, there was not much coverage and no live telecast of our matches. We don’t have any videos of those games. We only have with us the experience of our journey in 2005,” said Mithali, at an interactive session conducted by the Ficci Ladies Organisation (FLO) which felicitated her.
She added, “This year, the wide publicity on social media and live television coverage of ICC World Cup has changed dynamics of women’s cricket in India. The visibility in this World Cup was immense. We got more followers. We couldn’t get this momentum earlier.”
Recalling her early days in cricket, she said, “Way back in 90s, it was very difficult for us to go through the journey where in U-16 and U-19 we had to travel in unreserved trains and used to stay in hostels. And it continued when the women’s cricket was under WCI (Women’s Cricket Association of India).
“Unlike the US where everything is in place to groom sportspersons for the Olympics, in India we need to make it big before getting some recognition and support from the government,” she also said.
Indian women’s bowling spearhead Jhulan Goswami, who too was present at the occasion said, “The career of a sportsperson is usually short. For women there is also the challenge of marriage and family. It is more of a gamble, one can fail or succeed.”
Also present at the event was former Indian legendary batsman and India’s U-19 coach Rahul Dravid who said that women’s cricket in our country has now been popularised to a large extent and that there is a need to publicize the sport.
“The more you play the better you get. Hence, more competitions will bring the best out of the talents. There is a need to bring more school kids on to the platform to develop the sport. For example, there should be more school and college cricket competitions,” said Dravid.
Vasvi Bharat, the FLO president said, “Ficci Ladies Organisation (FLO) believes that successful women must be recognized not only because they deserve to but also it encourages other women to face all odds and emerge victorious and confident.
“It is especially true when Indian women are breaking all stereotypes and bringing laurels to our country in the field of cricket, which has been always considered as a male bastion.”