Women's World Cup 2013 January 25, 2013

The Women's World Cup deserves better

Jack Sheldon
Preparations for the tenth Women's Cricket World Cup in India have descended into a farce, following the BCCI's decision to make late changes to the schedule
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Preparations for the tenth Women's Cricket World Cup in India have descended into a farce, following the BCCI's decision to make late changes to the schedule. Just a week before the opening matches, new venues have been announced - with the Wankhede Stadium being dropped - but the revised schedule of matches is yet to be made public. Apart from affecting teams, this also means a great deal of uncertainty for broadcasters, as the Wankhede Stadium was the scheduled venue for the televised games in the first week. There are now some question marks whether the matches will be televised at all. Moreover, the reason for switching the venues is highly questionable.

The Wankhede Stadium is being taken out of use primarily to allow Mumbai to play the Ranji Trophy final. While it is possible that crowds will flock to see Sachin Tendulkar playing first-class cricket in his home city, for possibly the last time, an ICC event that has been scheduled for years should surely take precedence. Admittedly, though, the Wankhede was not an ideal venue: it would have been better to play this tournament at smaller venues, where it would have attracted larger crowds.

That said, in light of recent political developments in India, where the brutal gang rape of a student in Delhi led to mass protests against attitudes towards women, this tournament could have been a perfect opportunity to demonstrate what women can do. The standard of women's cricket is constantly improving and, on the basis of recent results, this will be the most competitive women's event in years.

England and Australia will go in as favourites, although England haven't always been successful in Asia and Australia's recent series against New Zealand was a closely contested one. The hosts have a chance, too, with Mithali Raj, one of the world's leading batsmen, in their side. With her classical style, Raj has struggled to make an impact in Twenty20 events, but is one of the most prized wickets in ODIs.

Some people are likely to dismiss the women's game as irrelevant and low-quality amid the big-hitting of the IPL and the mainstream international game. Of course, it is indisputable that the quality is not the same as in the men's game. But that shouldn't stop people from watching and enjoying it. The Paralympics last summer was the best example of how non-elite sport can be enjoyed; after a quiet start, people quickly started seeing what the athletes could do rather than what they couldn't. While the Olympics were always going to be popular, the Paralympics were the success story of the summer, transforming perceptions of disabled sport and disability in general.

The same attitude should be taken towards women's cricket. While no female player can hit the ball like a Chris Gayle or MS Dhoni, or bowl as fast as Dale Steyn, it still doesn't make their skills any less watchable. Lydia Greenway fields as well as just about any player (male or female) in the world, Sarah Taylor's batting is beautiful to watch, and a lot of the spinners on show could teach a few male cricketers a thing or two.

I do believe this World Cup could still be a big success. If the Indian public can be galvanised to turn out at least for the matches in which the host team is playing, it will make the tournament feel like an event. After all, there are few things more annoying for international performers than playing in empty, echoing stadiums in their home country.

With little major international cricket scheduled over the next few weeks, the cricketing media, at least in England, are likely to give the tournament some column space. The BBC Test Match Special is set to broadcast England's matches live for the first time - unless the last minute shuffling puts a spoke in that.

At the moment, however, the administrators are making a mockery of the showpiece event of women's cricket. The players and supporters deserve better than that.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RDx on February 3, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    To promote women's cricket, why isn't the Indian women's team called an invitational team in ipl and be allowed to play a match all the 8 franchises..

  • Gerard on February 1, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Yep, another triumph of short-term, ad hoc planning by those running the game. I want to know why the women's World Cup is being played now. Most people wouldn't even know it's on. Why not have it at the same time as the men's and increase the prestige of both tournaments?

  • poojitha on January 30, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    all the best to womens cricket indian team

  • Luck Raj on January 28, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    Womens cricket is always going to be like the WNBA. No one cares. They will never be on par with Men's cricket. It is sad to say but we will never be equal. People want to see world class matches having the STRONGEST players in teh world play. A women is not as strong as a man and will never be. They are not as fast, not as strong. I do wish this would be different but people dont want to pay for a second rate match which is a Women's cricket match. I am all for girl power, women's rights. But sports are entertaining. Men will entertain more.

  • NABIN KUMAR KHARA on January 28, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Women cricket still has a long way to go..............

  • K.A.K on January 28, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Totally agree with the author. There still is time to make this a great event. I am wondering what will happen if Pakistan qualify for semi-final or final. Will they play in Mumbai or the venue will shift again?

  • Rant-o-Saurus on January 27, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    Gee, Aravind...you're projecting so hard you could point yourself at a wall and display PowerPoint presentations. I don't see the author anywhere in this article saying anything about women claiming so-called 'backdoor entry' to international level, and yet here you are. Are you trying to suggest that women should have to fight for positions amongst men in cricket teams in a practice that doesn't happen in any other major level sporting organization? There's several other comments I could make about you and your sexist views held by other members of the sub-continental community, which thankfully for you, me and the moderators of this website I'm not going to make. But shame on you, Aravind, for your incredibly insulting and narrow-minded views. I hope the Women's World Cup is great success financially and for the game of cricket. It'd be nice to see an entertaining, balanced game of cricket being played in India for once which is more than I can say for the Ranji 'Flat-track' Trophy.

  • Gizza on January 27, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    Are there really many "schoolboys" that are better than the best female cricketers in the world? Cricket is hardly a game of strength and speed (with the exception of fast bowling, six hitting and running between the wickets). Everything else is a game of coordination and intelligence. Cricket is one of the few sports where a five foot man can easily become one of the best of all-time. I think some of the negative borderline sexist commenters would receive a thrashing even if they played against a typical women's club team.

    On the cricket itself, Eng and Aus are the clear favourites though I think the Windies are the dark horses. I'm quite impressed with Stafanie Taylor. An average of 46 in the 50-over game is very strong.

  • Sai on January 26, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    So many wanna be BCCI haters here. But let me tell you guys and girls. It was not shifted due to Ranji(My fellow Indians, its about time you started reading the news paper). It was shifted because a right-wing political party warned that they would not let Pak set foot in Mumbai. As for the author, it is safe to assume he does not read the news paper either. Besides we cannot expect foreigners to understand the general Indian sentiment. It is very easy to say lets not mingle cricket with politics, but it is easier said than done! True I would have loved the Women's cricket to get more attention, but it was not to be. The same thing may have happened to the mens' World Cup, if it was going on right now, due to the recent turn of events at the border.

  • Jack Sheldon on January 26, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Aravind - I don't really get your point. Women do not have the same physical capabilities as men, and so its appropriate that they play sport (apart from, say, horse racing) separately.

    People who questioned my reference to the Paralympics - I did think carefully about this comparison, but I do think it is relevant. I am not talking about the level of competition, but more the way in which supporters were able to put aside their prejudices and support the event for its own qualities, rather than comparing it to the male sport which most most people watch.

  • RDx on February 3, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    To promote women's cricket, why isn't the Indian women's team called an invitational team in ipl and be allowed to play a match all the 8 franchises..

  • Gerard on February 1, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Yep, another triumph of short-term, ad hoc planning by those running the game. I want to know why the women's World Cup is being played now. Most people wouldn't even know it's on. Why not have it at the same time as the men's and increase the prestige of both tournaments?

  • poojitha on January 30, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    all the best to womens cricket indian team

  • Luck Raj on January 28, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    Womens cricket is always going to be like the WNBA. No one cares. They will never be on par with Men's cricket. It is sad to say but we will never be equal. People want to see world class matches having the STRONGEST players in teh world play. A women is not as strong as a man and will never be. They are not as fast, not as strong. I do wish this would be different but people dont want to pay for a second rate match which is a Women's cricket match. I am all for girl power, women's rights. But sports are entertaining. Men will entertain more.

  • NABIN KUMAR KHARA on January 28, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Women cricket still has a long way to go..............

  • K.A.K on January 28, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Totally agree with the author. There still is time to make this a great event. I am wondering what will happen if Pakistan qualify for semi-final or final. Will they play in Mumbai or the venue will shift again?

  • Rant-o-Saurus on January 27, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    Gee, Aravind...you're projecting so hard you could point yourself at a wall and display PowerPoint presentations. I don't see the author anywhere in this article saying anything about women claiming so-called 'backdoor entry' to international level, and yet here you are. Are you trying to suggest that women should have to fight for positions amongst men in cricket teams in a practice that doesn't happen in any other major level sporting organization? There's several other comments I could make about you and your sexist views held by other members of the sub-continental community, which thankfully for you, me and the moderators of this website I'm not going to make. But shame on you, Aravind, for your incredibly insulting and narrow-minded views. I hope the Women's World Cup is great success financially and for the game of cricket. It'd be nice to see an entertaining, balanced game of cricket being played in India for once which is more than I can say for the Ranji 'Flat-track' Trophy.

  • Gizza on January 27, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    Are there really many "schoolboys" that are better than the best female cricketers in the world? Cricket is hardly a game of strength and speed (with the exception of fast bowling, six hitting and running between the wickets). Everything else is a game of coordination and intelligence. Cricket is one of the few sports where a five foot man can easily become one of the best of all-time. I think some of the negative borderline sexist commenters would receive a thrashing even if they played against a typical women's club team.

    On the cricket itself, Eng and Aus are the clear favourites though I think the Windies are the dark horses. I'm quite impressed with Stafanie Taylor. An average of 46 in the 50-over game is very strong.

  • Sai on January 26, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    So many wanna be BCCI haters here. But let me tell you guys and girls. It was not shifted due to Ranji(My fellow Indians, its about time you started reading the news paper). It was shifted because a right-wing political party warned that they would not let Pak set foot in Mumbai. As for the author, it is safe to assume he does not read the news paper either. Besides we cannot expect foreigners to understand the general Indian sentiment. It is very easy to say lets not mingle cricket with politics, but it is easier said than done! True I would have loved the Women's cricket to get more attention, but it was not to be. The same thing may have happened to the mens' World Cup, if it was going on right now, due to the recent turn of events at the border.

  • Jack Sheldon on January 26, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Aravind - I don't really get your point. Women do not have the same physical capabilities as men, and so its appropriate that they play sport (apart from, say, horse racing) separately.

    People who questioned my reference to the Paralympics - I did think carefully about this comparison, but I do think it is relevant. I am not talking about the level of competition, but more the way in which supporters were able to put aside their prejudices and support the event for its own qualities, rather than comparing it to the male sport which most most people watch.

  • Anonymous on January 26, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    Very well said.... I can't tell you how women's cricketer got treatment in Mumbai during thair camp.., horrible facilities...

  • Aravind on January 26, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    There are so many schoolboys who play much better cricket than women's cricket. But they are compelled to play in streets because of their gender. These women cricketers are getting much more that what their capabilities deserve. Unless we are saying that men have to be treated lesser because of their gender! Are any of the women cricketers or their supporters who claim "injustice" willing to have one world cup with selections based on merit with no one getting a backdoor entry to international level based on their gender?

  • Chinmay on January 26, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    Do the supporters really deserve better than this? Ranji Trophy final attracted 1000 spectators on the first day. It is likely to be much more on second day with Tendulkar scheduled to bat. Will Women's world cup get such crowds?

    There is not much public interest in women's world cup for a variety of reasons. It was wrong to schedule matches at Wankhede where they could have potentially clashed with the Ranji trophy finals.

    For too long has Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments apart form IPL received a short stiff from BCCI. It is good that they have finally decided to stuck for up for it.

  • anand rampersas on January 26, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    I firmly believe that the cricket played by women should be given the level of attention as when played by men more so as its an ICC showpiece event.

  • Deepak on January 26, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    Agree with your words Jack! It would have been better to play on the smaller grounds where it would have attracted larger crowds!

  • @E_Perry_Admirer on January 26, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    Nice article! The fact that this hasn´t received many comments yet reveals that people are actually paying no attention to the ICC Women´s World Cup, which is quite sad actually. Whichever way, I wish all the teams best of luck and that it turns out to be a tournament full of entertainment.

  • Hemal Sheth on January 26, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Leaving in Mumbai, I am eargly waiting past one month, to witness the Women's WC event to be held in my city. I have never seen womens cricket match before, and to watch a mega event like this is interesting.

    Shifting the international event's from Wankhede, just to accommodate Ranji final proves BCCIs dominance and ICCs priorities.

    Coverage of Womens cricket has always been sidelined just like non-test playing teams. Whether its TV coverage, social media, outdoor publicity, print media, everything is missing at local and national level in the event hosting country. Even its not mentioned in Cricinfos website 'series' section or the 'quick links' section.

    ICC should formulate a event publicizing platform policy, make it mandatory for the host country to highlight such event in all sections of media, ensure that norms are followed and audience attendance will decide whether its hit or flop.

    But i am sure it will be a come and go event, with only few of them taking notice.

  • Deepak Sarathy on January 26, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Completely agree with the writer's sentiments here. I've long felt that women's cricket should get more attention than it currently does, and the administrators aren't making it easier for people to watch these games. Admittedly, the pomp related with the men's game can't be replicated, but a world cup is at least worth broadcasting for the entire length of the tournament? Some of these players are really good, with Sarah Taylor considered good enough to make a county second XI. Great article, hope it amounts to something.

  • Backhand on January 26, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    I take your point but comparing women's cricket to the Paralympics made me cringe. I wonder how the public would respond to the women's final at Wimbledon being called a Paralympics of tennis...

  • soumya Chakraborty on January 26, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    It is very much disheartening to see that India is once again going to prove that there is not at all any respect for the indian women. So the world cup tournament though it is of womens world cup it has been shifted for national level mens matches. ICC also allowing it.All person irrespective of male or female should protest it. Shame on BCCI.

  • Alex on January 26, 2013, 3:05 GMT

    I don't know if comparing women's sport to the Paralympics is really appropriate... But yes, the women's game is highly enjoyable a should be treated with respect!

  • Zeeshan Mahmud on January 26, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    Good piece. Indian broadcasting did a good job advertising Belinda Clarke's 229* as the highest individual innings in ODI. So, it did definitely pique the interest. Now only if I could find it in YouTube!

  • NMTM on January 25, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    you could not have put it better than you already have sir. Women's cricket deserves more awareness than it gets presently which is highly unfair. Yes, they may not play like the men of our countries but it doesn't mean they aren't brimming with talent.A little support and encouragement could get these ladies a long long way...and the public as well as the cricket boards could play a part in this by understanding the need to contribute to equal awareness for both sectors.

  • Frank on January 25, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    Hang on, comparing women's cricket to the Paralympics? I agree with the substance of the criticism of the BCCI, but the tone is just as patronising.

  • Kevin on January 25, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    Well what do you expect when one board has more say in world cricket than anyone else. What I don't understand is that why don't English and Australian boards counter BCCI's influence? I'm sure if this event was taking place in England it would've been much better organized and teams would've enjoyed excellent viewership... after all it was England's turn.

  • Jaydev Adhikari on January 25, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    No offence to the author, I am sure he meant every word he said. And he makes a very valid point, cannot agree more with him. But I think it is slightly hypocrite for the cricinfo website to publish this article while the Women's World Cup is not even listed as one of the quick links on the home page. IPL and other major men's cricket events are listed weeks before it starts. I don't know if this comment will be published, even if it doesn't, I hope it at least leads to the webmasters of this site to put the tournament page on the list of quick links.

  • Tanvi on January 25, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    Very well said. I completely agree with you. Some women's teams are capable of making 230+ scores and I think that would be interesting to watch as well. I've seen some matches and I don't think there's any reason that people can't watch Women's cricket. I really hope it is publicized more so that more people can know about it and watch it.

  • Eric - USA. on January 25, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Well spoken, sir. I wish there were quality women's matches within a reasonable distance that I could attend.

  • Padmini on January 25, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Yes, I agree. I am an Indian and am appalled at how BCCI has treated the schedule of women's WC.

    ICC should not put up with this and protest strongly.

  • Barry on January 25, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    Well said. There is a HUGE conflict of interest between the ICC & BCCI that makes a mockery of governing our great game. Looking forward to as much coverage as possible but as usual the consideration of the fans who pay for tickets and coverage comes last. Good luck to England and may we see women's cricket at its best.

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  • Barry on January 25, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    Well said. There is a HUGE conflict of interest between the ICC & BCCI that makes a mockery of governing our great game. Looking forward to as much coverage as possible but as usual the consideration of the fans who pay for tickets and coverage comes last. Good luck to England and may we see women's cricket at its best.

  • Padmini on January 25, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Yes, I agree. I am an Indian and am appalled at how BCCI has treated the schedule of women's WC.

    ICC should not put up with this and protest strongly.

  • Eric - USA. on January 25, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Well spoken, sir. I wish there were quality women's matches within a reasonable distance that I could attend.

  • Tanvi on January 25, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    Very well said. I completely agree with you. Some women's teams are capable of making 230+ scores and I think that would be interesting to watch as well. I've seen some matches and I don't think there's any reason that people can't watch Women's cricket. I really hope it is publicized more so that more people can know about it and watch it.

  • Jaydev Adhikari on January 25, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    No offence to the author, I am sure he meant every word he said. And he makes a very valid point, cannot agree more with him. But I think it is slightly hypocrite for the cricinfo website to publish this article while the Women's World Cup is not even listed as one of the quick links on the home page. IPL and other major men's cricket events are listed weeks before it starts. I don't know if this comment will be published, even if it doesn't, I hope it at least leads to the webmasters of this site to put the tournament page on the list of quick links.

  • Kevin on January 25, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    Well what do you expect when one board has more say in world cricket than anyone else. What I don't understand is that why don't English and Australian boards counter BCCI's influence? I'm sure if this event was taking place in England it would've been much better organized and teams would've enjoyed excellent viewership... after all it was England's turn.

  • Frank on January 25, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    Hang on, comparing women's cricket to the Paralympics? I agree with the substance of the criticism of the BCCI, but the tone is just as patronising.

  • NMTM on January 25, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    you could not have put it better than you already have sir. Women's cricket deserves more awareness than it gets presently which is highly unfair. Yes, they may not play like the men of our countries but it doesn't mean they aren't brimming with talent.A little support and encouragement could get these ladies a long long way...and the public as well as the cricket boards could play a part in this by understanding the need to contribute to equal awareness for both sectors.

  • Zeeshan Mahmud on January 26, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    Good piece. Indian broadcasting did a good job advertising Belinda Clarke's 229* as the highest individual innings in ODI. So, it did definitely pique the interest. Now only if I could find it in YouTube!

  • Alex on January 26, 2013, 3:05 GMT

    I don't know if comparing women's sport to the Paralympics is really appropriate... But yes, the women's game is highly enjoyable a should be treated with respect!