Women's World Twenty20 2012 September 27, 2012

Why the difference between the men's and women's game?

The opening game of this tournament was held where only one group would be playing, miles from any other side, and against a team that doesn't draw a crowd
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The opening game of this tournament was held where only one group would be playing, miles from any other side, and against a team that doesn't draw a crowd.

In the first four days of the tournament no major sides played each other.

The group stages are pointless as shown by the fact that West Indies didn't complete a match and still progressed.

And this tournament is looking more and more likely not to be shaped by mystery spinners and top order sloggers, but by the rainy season.

TV presenters, experts, writers and people in lounge rooms and bars across the cricket world have talked a lot about these errors from the ICC.

The biggest mistake so far in the tournament was far easier to fix and spot than any of the above, it was someone's decision to pay women cricketers less than men's cricketers in their daily allowance.

There is no way that was ever going to be looked upon well if it got out. Basically because there is no way of saying the men, who are all well paid fully professional cricketers, need an extra US$40 a day than the nearly exclusively amateur women cricketers.

Brand Dhoni is worth over 50 million dollars. The Sri Lanka women's team were drafted into the armed forces so they could afford to continue to play cricket.

There's no doubt that women's cricket is funded by the men's game. Women's cricket is an amateur sport. As such it's not taken as seriously as it should be. It can't get on TV enough because it's not seen as a high quality or popular sport, and it can't become professional without the money that sport gets from being TV. It's trapped in dependency.

For many reasons, women's cricket has not been taken seriously by all the cricket countries, some cultural, and some financial.

The English women are quickly becoming professional, with Australia not far behind, the New Zealand team has always been strong and India has some of the best players on earth. For too long these four teams have been far too good for the other sides. Now that may be changing. West Indies is building a very strong side and South Africa have started winning games. Women's cricket may finally have proper competition at the upper levels.

But it's in India that shows you how far it has to go.

Sania Mirza, the tennis player, has never won a grand slam in singles, she has never been beyond the fourth round in a grand slam. Her ranking has never been higher than No. 27 in singles or No. 7 in doubles. Her greatest achievement is winning the mixed doubles at the Australian and French Opens.

Mithali Raj is the world's No. 1 ranked ODI batsman, she's No. 3 in T20 cricket (formerly No. 1). Her Test batting average is 52, in ODI cricket it's 47 and in T20 it's 34. She lives in the most cricket crazy place on earth. And is less famous, respected and adulated than Sania Mirza by the population at large.

That's because women's tennis does make its own money, it is professional and people take it seriously. Women's cricket is none of these at the moment.

That doesn't mean things can't change. It is ironic that moronic mistakes like paying two different rates for per diems is what sometimes start to changes things, but giving the women US$100 a day instead of US$60 is not going to change the larger issues of how to grow women's cricket. Until women's cricket is a viable TV option, the prize money and wages are never going to be anything close to equal.

Right now the women's tournament is underway. The group stage is being played in Galle and not shown on TV. The only reporters who are covering it are the ones who have travelled here for that alone. There are not many of those. In Kandy and Colombo there are many cricket fans and media who have little to do on days between cricket. Had the women not been hidden away until the semi-final stage they could have got bigger crowds and more coverage, instead of enjoying the beaches of Galle.

Many people abuse or laugh at women's cricket, but I love it. The relative lack of power in the batting means a much more pure form of cricket. This also brings out the strategy from the captains a lot more. Suzie Bates and Charlotte Edwards are masters of manipulation. I saw seven matches at the World T20 in the UK, and my strongest memories are of Stuart Broad failing to field in the last over against Netherlands, and Claire Taylor's surgery of Australia's fielders in the women's semi-final.

Women cricketers are playing the game simply because they love it; not for financial rewards or fame, but because they simply want to be the best they can and represent their country in the sport they love. They often have to leave the game early because they simply can't afford to continue to play.

If Mithali Raj was a male cricketer she wouldn't need that extra US$40 a day. But since tuk tuk drivers and restaurants don't offer 40% off for women cricketers, neither should the ICC.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kaye on October 3, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    I think that the womens game is much more interesting than the mens game to watch. If I had to pick a sport which I would want to watch for men, it would be rugby not cricket because rugby is a sport that is defaulted in power and speed, both attritubes which are more akin to the nature of the male body.

    however, cricket is a sport which is more intuitive, about judegment and skill - something which women are better at because they tend to be more detailed oriented.

  • cresinda on September 30, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    People who say there is no power in women's cricket probably are right in their opinion. But do they know why is it so? Simple go on the internet and simply check the number of matches any male cricketer has played before reaching the national team and the amount of sponsored tournaments they have been part of at the domestic levels. Where the men and boys play throughout the year and women only 3 months at the domestic level. As they say practise makes a man perfect obviously because women have not been gifted that many chances to. And then know why men play with power and the women's lack it. It's simple lack of opportunities resulting in lack of competition at the root level itself. Without this from where will the power generate?

  • Darren Cook on September 30, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    Women's cricket is improving all the time and is quite enjoyable to watch, by televising more games and advertising the game better then hopefully more girls will want to play but the men game is a far better standard currently and will always be so therefore I'm happy that the men's game gets the better money but the women's game needs as much help as possible.

  • Andy on September 30, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Great article... Everytime I want to see women's matches, there is no coverage. I have to settle on seeing the scoreboard and reading match reports. I always want to see how Mitali Raj, Jhoolan, Sthalekar, Taylor and Edwards play, but I have not been able to find any televised coverage. That's gotta change. And the fact that they get paid less per diem than their male counterparts is just ridiculous. They play the same number of overs and entertain almost as good as men do. So why this discrimination? Even female tennis players who play less number of sets than male players do, get paid equally. Then why this injustice in cricket? ICC must change its policies.

  • Sarahjane on September 29, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Brilliant observations, Jarrod. Thanks for giving these issues an airing. Now. If you could just get this article re-printed in SMH/Age/Torygraph/Grauniad/etc, that will be another step in the right direction. ;-)

  • colin macbeth on September 28, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    Razor, Uganda, editorial (abridged), August 2, 2010. Women cricketers have plenty to show the men When the women’s cricket league started some men may have chortled: “Women playing cricket? Seriously ? Whatever next?” But hang on! Despite the men’s heroics in the T20 Africa Premier League tournament last month, it was until then the women and girls who had been generally successful. The Uganda side disappointed in women's World Cup qualifiers in December 2010, with lacklustre performances redeemed only by twice beating Kenya. But the under-19s, defending their East African title in Dar es Salaam, carried all before them; now their older sisters must wait until December when Uganda has been chosen to host the continent’s premier women’s T20 cricket event (which Uganda won). These are all big steps in the cricket world, and Uganda is at the forefront of them. The games last Saturday showed amazing levels of skill. So go on, you ladies, the pitch is yours; play up and play the game!

  • Peter on September 28, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    Simply Because there is no fun and no thrill watching them Playing and they can't carry themselves in any game apart from Moaning :P

  • Shrey Joshi on September 28, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    I have dreamt of watching Mithali Raj's marathon 214 in her fourth test innings. But, Alas.

  • Gizza on September 28, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Great blog Jarrod. I've always felt there's more timing involved in women's batting as well as strategy in women's bowling and fielding because of the lack of power. You don't get nicks from one handed swings that somehow go over the boundary rope like in the men's game! That's for sure!

  • Meety on September 28, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    Top article. In Oz a year or so ago, they televised a woman's T20 match at the MCG. I found it an enjoyable match. I wouldn't attend live, but definately watch on TV. It is true that they are a probably more of a technically pure brand of cricket. About 20yrs ago, the ABC used to televise women's test matches.

  • Kaye on October 3, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    I think that the womens game is much more interesting than the mens game to watch. If I had to pick a sport which I would want to watch for men, it would be rugby not cricket because rugby is a sport that is defaulted in power and speed, both attritubes which are more akin to the nature of the male body.

    however, cricket is a sport which is more intuitive, about judegment and skill - something which women are better at because they tend to be more detailed oriented.

  • cresinda on September 30, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    People who say there is no power in women's cricket probably are right in their opinion. But do they know why is it so? Simple go on the internet and simply check the number of matches any male cricketer has played before reaching the national team and the amount of sponsored tournaments they have been part of at the domestic levels. Where the men and boys play throughout the year and women only 3 months at the domestic level. As they say practise makes a man perfect obviously because women have not been gifted that many chances to. And then know why men play with power and the women's lack it. It's simple lack of opportunities resulting in lack of competition at the root level itself. Without this from where will the power generate?

  • Darren Cook on September 30, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    Women's cricket is improving all the time and is quite enjoyable to watch, by televising more games and advertising the game better then hopefully more girls will want to play but the men game is a far better standard currently and will always be so therefore I'm happy that the men's game gets the better money but the women's game needs as much help as possible.

  • Andy on September 30, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Great article... Everytime I want to see women's matches, there is no coverage. I have to settle on seeing the scoreboard and reading match reports. I always want to see how Mitali Raj, Jhoolan, Sthalekar, Taylor and Edwards play, but I have not been able to find any televised coverage. That's gotta change. And the fact that they get paid less per diem than their male counterparts is just ridiculous. They play the same number of overs and entertain almost as good as men do. So why this discrimination? Even female tennis players who play less number of sets than male players do, get paid equally. Then why this injustice in cricket? ICC must change its policies.

  • Sarahjane on September 29, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Brilliant observations, Jarrod. Thanks for giving these issues an airing. Now. If you could just get this article re-printed in SMH/Age/Torygraph/Grauniad/etc, that will be another step in the right direction. ;-)

  • colin macbeth on September 28, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    Razor, Uganda, editorial (abridged), August 2, 2010. Women cricketers have plenty to show the men When the women’s cricket league started some men may have chortled: “Women playing cricket? Seriously ? Whatever next?” But hang on! Despite the men’s heroics in the T20 Africa Premier League tournament last month, it was until then the women and girls who had been generally successful. The Uganda side disappointed in women's World Cup qualifiers in December 2010, with lacklustre performances redeemed only by twice beating Kenya. But the under-19s, defending their East African title in Dar es Salaam, carried all before them; now their older sisters must wait until December when Uganda has been chosen to host the continent’s premier women’s T20 cricket event (which Uganda won). These are all big steps in the cricket world, and Uganda is at the forefront of them. The games last Saturday showed amazing levels of skill. So go on, you ladies, the pitch is yours; play up and play the game!

  • Peter on September 28, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    Simply Because there is no fun and no thrill watching them Playing and they can't carry themselves in any game apart from Moaning :P

  • Shrey Joshi on September 28, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    I have dreamt of watching Mithali Raj's marathon 214 in her fourth test innings. But, Alas.

  • Gizza on September 28, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Great blog Jarrod. I've always felt there's more timing involved in women's batting as well as strategy in women's bowling and fielding because of the lack of power. You don't get nicks from one handed swings that somehow go over the boundary rope like in the men's game! That's for sure!

  • Meety on September 28, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    Top article. In Oz a year or so ago, they televised a woman's T20 match at the MCG. I found it an enjoyable match. I wouldn't attend live, but definately watch on TV. It is true that they are a probably more of a technically pure brand of cricket. About 20yrs ago, the ABC used to televise women's test matches.

  • Willie Scrapes on September 27, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    There is a similar debate raging over pay parity in Tennis sparked by Billie Jean King's comments on Roger Federer's relative silence on the matter carried in USA Today. The four major championships(Australia, Roland Garros, Wimbledon & US) feature equal prize money but overall male Tennis players earn more prize money. Recently, two prominent male players have called the equal pay arrangement of the major tournaments unwarranted. This led to a furore which has now been further stoked by BJKing's contribution.

  • Michael on September 27, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. Brilliantly written. Women's cricket has so much to offer. It may never play side-by-side with the men's game, but here's to the day when it is held in more regard than the token afterthought that it seems to be now.

    At least they don't wear skirts anymore, and no one took the idea of sleeveless shirts seriously.

  • ubermeow on September 27, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    There is no doubt is one of the most fascinating sports in the world and rightly so. But unfortunately, it is also run by some very stupid administrators who will defy logic and reason in the face of everything. A simple gaffe in the form of different daily allowance because of gender is excruciatingly embarassing for any cricket lover, who also is a citizen of the world. I guess, my lovehate relationship with cricket will continue - as I am never going to be releived man!

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  • ubermeow on September 27, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    There is no doubt is one of the most fascinating sports in the world and rightly so. But unfortunately, it is also run by some very stupid administrators who will defy logic and reason in the face of everything. A simple gaffe in the form of different daily allowance because of gender is excruciatingly embarassing for any cricket lover, who also is a citizen of the world. I guess, my lovehate relationship with cricket will continue - as I am never going to be releived man!

  • Michael on September 27, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. Brilliantly written. Women's cricket has so much to offer. It may never play side-by-side with the men's game, but here's to the day when it is held in more regard than the token afterthought that it seems to be now.

    At least they don't wear skirts anymore, and no one took the idea of sleeveless shirts seriously.

  • Willie Scrapes on September 27, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    There is a similar debate raging over pay parity in Tennis sparked by Billie Jean King's comments on Roger Federer's relative silence on the matter carried in USA Today. The four major championships(Australia, Roland Garros, Wimbledon & US) feature equal prize money but overall male Tennis players earn more prize money. Recently, two prominent male players have called the equal pay arrangement of the major tournaments unwarranted. This led to a furore which has now been further stoked by BJKing's contribution.

  • Meety on September 28, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    Top article. In Oz a year or so ago, they televised a woman's T20 match at the MCG. I found it an enjoyable match. I wouldn't attend live, but definately watch on TV. It is true that they are a probably more of a technically pure brand of cricket. About 20yrs ago, the ABC used to televise women's test matches.

  • Gizza on September 28, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Great blog Jarrod. I've always felt there's more timing involved in women's batting as well as strategy in women's bowling and fielding because of the lack of power. You don't get nicks from one handed swings that somehow go over the boundary rope like in the men's game! That's for sure!

  • Shrey Joshi on September 28, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    I have dreamt of watching Mithali Raj's marathon 214 in her fourth test innings. But, Alas.

  • Peter on September 28, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    Simply Because there is no fun and no thrill watching them Playing and they can't carry themselves in any game apart from Moaning :P

  • colin macbeth on September 28, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    Razor, Uganda, editorial (abridged), August 2, 2010. Women cricketers have plenty to show the men When the women’s cricket league started some men may have chortled: “Women playing cricket? Seriously ? Whatever next?” But hang on! Despite the men’s heroics in the T20 Africa Premier League tournament last month, it was until then the women and girls who had been generally successful. The Uganda side disappointed in women's World Cup qualifiers in December 2010, with lacklustre performances redeemed only by twice beating Kenya. But the under-19s, defending their East African title in Dar es Salaam, carried all before them; now their older sisters must wait until December when Uganda has been chosen to host the continent’s premier women’s T20 cricket event (which Uganda won). These are all big steps in the cricket world, and Uganda is at the forefront of them. The games last Saturday showed amazing levels of skill. So go on, you ladies, the pitch is yours; play up and play the game!

  • Sarahjane on September 29, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Brilliant observations, Jarrod. Thanks for giving these issues an airing. Now. If you could just get this article re-printed in SMH/Age/Torygraph/Grauniad/etc, that will be another step in the right direction. ;-)

  • Andy on September 30, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Great article... Everytime I want to see women's matches, there is no coverage. I have to settle on seeing the scoreboard and reading match reports. I always want to see how Mitali Raj, Jhoolan, Sthalekar, Taylor and Edwards play, but I have not been able to find any televised coverage. That's gotta change. And the fact that they get paid less per diem than their male counterparts is just ridiculous. They play the same number of overs and entertain almost as good as men do. So why this discrimination? Even female tennis players who play less number of sets than male players do, get paid equally. Then why this injustice in cricket? ICC must change its policies.