Some of you might still be obsessing over the Kohli-Kumble spat and India’s loss in the Champions Trophy final, but there’s also a section of ardent cricket buffs that’s spending its time watching our wonder women in action. The ongoing Women’s Cricket World Cup has seen Team India, led by the brilliant Mithali Raj, win both their matches till now.
While no sports channel in India is airing the tournament as a whole (only selected matches are being shown), devoted cricket followers are catching the matches on Hotstar and are gearing up to watch India and Pakistan in action today.
Nida Zubair, Head, Business Development at Farco, who followed India’s matches, says, “Our team’s playing really well. Smriti Mandhana is in good form and Mithali seems to be a cool captain, leading the team from the front. Her 74 against England was a treat to watch.” She adds, “It’s ridiculous that a bilateral series of India and West Indies is given so much importance whereas the Women’s World Cup isn’t even aired fully! Even when the men perform badly, there’s so much hype around them. If we invest at least half the money and interest in the women’s team, we’ll have more laurels achieved.”
Smriti Mandhana, the 20-year-old batswoman from Sangli has been the star of the tournament so far, having made 90 against England followed by a 106 against WI. “She’s aggressive, fearless and is the pick of the batters along with Mithali,” says Karnataka and south zone cricketer Akanksha Kohli. “We have a good combination of bowlers, pacers and batters. The girls are playing together as a team,” says Akanksha, who hopes to see the rest of the series being aired on TV, starting with the match today on Star Sports at 2.30 pm. “The Australia-Srilanka was one hell of a game. Star Sports showed the India-England game, but not the one with West Indies. Thankfully, they’re airing the India-Pakistan game today. Even the one match that was shown on TV was followed quite a bit here and Hotstar’s been getting massive views. It would be nice if channels did an ad/promotional video for the women like they do for the men’s tournaments. This way, the team will get visibility and it would do them a lot of good. However, it’s good to see women’s cricket finally getting the exposure it deserves,” she states.
Our desi girls have been displaying their coolness quotient off the field too. When Mithali was asked by a reporter who her favourite male player was, she replied, ‘Would you ask a male cricketer who his favourite female player is?’ With players like Tendulkar and others wishing the team online, more people are getting to know about these girls. “When someone called Smriti the female version of Sehwag, the latter responded saying that she’s the ‘first version of Smriti’. That was really nice,” says entrepreneur Shashank G. We only hope that these gritty ladies get the due they deserve. You go, girls!