Indian women’s cricket team has come out in flying colours in a series against New Zealand by winning three matches in the five match series. But how many people updated their social media statuses about the victory of team India? Well, it’s not about Facebook or Twitter statuses of individuals that matters, but it’s just a way of figuring out the support the female players receive in India! Really less I would say, when no one fixes a particular date to watch the women cricket. Or, wait. Are these cricket matches even broadcasted on television?
Mithali Raj, the captain of Indian cricket team, is the second cricketer in the world to score more than 5,000 runs in ODI matches. Did we know her? Even if we did, have we ever seen any of her matches on television? I would again say, many of us wouldn’t have. I am not creating facts on my own, but don’t you feel the same? We very well recognize the faces of men cricketers in our country, but how many of us know the women cricketers?
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) regulates both the cricket team in our country.. But the BCCI doesn’t seem to be doing much to bestow the women cricketers with the respect and recognition that they deserve. There is no advertising, no marketing done for them. There is very little appearance of women cricketers on television where even the news channels don’t wish to invite them on their shows. This is the same case with most of the sportspersons in India barring a few, who shoot to fame with their extraordinary performances at the international level. But, why do we expect our country to excel in sports when we don’t appreciate the efforts and achievements of our players?
Why does the Indian cricket team refer to the men’s squad and not the women’s squad? Why isn’t the men’s team referred to as the Indian men’s cricket team? In India, cricket is a synonym for men playing cricket. Corporates and big brands are readily paying men cricketers huge money for endorsements. Sadly, this isn’t the case with female cricketers.
In 2013, former captain of Indian cricket team, Diana Edulji gave the actual figures about the money women cricketers get for playing international matches. According to her, the domestic match fee of every player was Rs. 2,500 whereas the fee to play a T-20 match was only Rs. 1,250 in the year 2013.
Diana Edulji also blamed the BCCI for not taking adequate steps for the improvement of women’s cricket. For instance – not keeping enough test matches for them to be played with other teams in India and abroad. If IPL can be played by men then why not women teams too? If they play such tournament then people would only start taking interest in their game and girls would be more encouraged to play cricket. The stereotype prevails headstrong in India that cricket is a game to be played by boys only. This stereotype needs to be broken, so that girls can also play cricket for the joy of the game. Sports should never be distinguished on the basis of gender.
In other Indian sports, the condition isn’t much different. For example, even after being a state level boxer, Mrunal Bhosale from Pune, drives a tempo to make both ends meet. The 28-year-old boxer dreams of bringing laurels to India one day and keeps training for that but without any support from the sports’ federations. The reality is the same with a state level god medalist in boxing, Rishu Mittal, who works as a maid in a house to earn her bread and butter.
The sports federations should open their eyes and take care of the promising players, at the same time motivating the new players to give better performances. India can only dream of competing with countries like China and USA, if people can start encouraging all sports and giving due respect to the sportspersons.
Gagandeep Singh Vaid
Image Source: The Viewspaper