Cricket is a major religion in India — we eat, sleep, drink and breathe the sport; the players are idolised and respected by millions. But of course, we are talking about only the men’s game. Despite the unfair dominance, the women’s team is not far behind in capturing a place in our hearts — and the ongoing Women’s T20 World Cup is testament to this! Though it is overshadowed by the men’s tournament, women from different fields across the city, are making an attempt to support and bring attention to the women in blue! And it’s not just the Indian team, women from other countries are also garnering fandom from namma audiences.
Former cricketer-turned-actress Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, who had gone to Bengaluru to watch the match between India and Bangladesh, says, “I used to play cricket and wanted to support our team. Things have changed now, with more media support and sponsorship available for women. They should get as much visibility as men. People need to know that it is as interesting and fun to watch women play.” She is happy that the women’s matches are getting much-needed attention. Lakshmi adds that if the men’s cricket telecasts included snippets from women’s matches, it would give a boost to the girls.
Sameena Anwar, who is the emcee for the matches happening in Chennai, says, “The crowds for the Pakistan-West Indies match were enthusiastic and crazy. They were very supportive and encouraging. Both the teams played well and put up a good show. Many think that women cricketers can’t match up to the men. But whoever thinks so, is wrong! Even I had a lot of misconceptions regarding the players. But after watching the game, all my misbelieves vanished. The way the players bowled, and hit boundaries, is out of this world.” The anchor adds that Pakistan captain Sana Mir receives a lot of love from Chennaiites — “She has a good fan base here, and is also my favourite player!”
Susan Pallikal, a former cricketer from 1975 to ‘81, wants to thank the BCCI for promoting the game — “If we compare the earlier times to today, the girls now are getting more media coverage and encouragement. It is a good sign; more and more women will come forward to play the game and I am happy about that.” Chennai-based basketball player Vyishali Kemkar says that many of her friends are interested to watch the matches happening here — “I am glad women’s cricket being supported and encouraged. It all depends on the mindset of the people; it’ll take time for people to come forward and respect the game at a bigger level.” Here’s hoping to see many other women from the country, smash centuries and scalp wickets with style, soon!