Dubai: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has thrown his weight behind the ICC Women's World Cup 2017, saying one who doesn't watch the women's game is not a true cricket fan.
"I guess he is not a cricket fan," Tendulkar said, when asked what he would say to a cricket fan who wouldn't consider going to a women's game.
"If you are a true cricket fan, you need to get there in the middle and watch that action. They are skillful players, they are competitive, they fight hard and in the right spirit. Then why wouldn't you want to be there? I think you need a closer look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself some strong question that are you a cricket fan or cricket lover. If yes, then you better be there."
To celebrate the launch of the tournament schedule on International Women's Day, Tendulkar was introduced as the UNICEF and Cricket For Good Ambassador for the ICC Women's World Cup 2017. He said agreeing to get involved was an easy decision.
"International Women's Day is something special and the World Cup is a massive occasion; the biggest event in cricket and I believe that women are for sport and sport is for women. The two should go hand in hand and that's the reason I'm extending my support. The competitiveness and fierce competitions we will see is something we can all enjoy at the Women's World Cup and something everyone can appreciate," he said.
Tendulkar reflected on the increasing strength across the competing nations, but admitted he couldn't look past India in the upcoming competition, which the team qualified for by winning the Women's World Cup Qualifier in Colombo last month.
"This World Cup is going to be competitive. I have witnessed a few games and I know for sure that Australia, South Africa, England, New Zealand, they all are competitive teams, but my heart is with India," he said.
"India has got a solid competitive team and a couple of players I have followed and interacted with – Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj. So, all in all, I think this is going to be a great tournament. Let's wait and enjoy cricket and I know for sure that people will not be disappointed at all."
Tendulkar felt it was unfair to compare men's cricket with women's cricket, and stressed the need to enjoy each format independently.