January 30, 2013

ICC Women's World Cup 2013

Do you know a World Cup is about to begin?

Alison Mitchell
The entrance to the Cricket Club of India ahead of the Women's World Cup, Mumbai, January 30, 2013
There's not much signage publicising the tournament in Mumbai  © Alison Mitchell
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Until you walk right up to the gates of the Cricket Club of India, you would have no idea that the ICC Women's World Cup was taking place in Mumbai. There's no event branding or advertising in the Colaba district of the city where the teams are staying, or along Marine Drive, which sweeps along the seafront just yards from the charming Brabourne stadium. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka for the recent ICC World T20 you could not fail to realise a major sporting event was taking place. There are none of the life size cardboard cut-outs of players that adorned roundabouts in Colombo and Galle, and lined the arrivals hall of Colombo airport.

The budget for this tournament presumably doesn't stretch that far, which highlights the benefit to the women of having their World T20 staged alongside the men's event and being able to piggyback off the marketing. The most glaring advert that a match is taking place will be when the floodlights are switched on for the opening day-nighter between India and West Indies, hopefully tempting a few more curious locals to take advantage of the free entry to support their team at the ground that is deliciously tucked in amongst tree lined streets and residential flats.

India captain Mithali Raj didn’t want to be drawn into any sort of negative debate on the eve of the World Cup when I put to her the comments about the BCCI made by former captain Diana Edulji to ESPNcricinfo. One aspect of Edulji’s remarks that she did seem to agree with though, was that women should play more Test cricket. India haven’t played a Test since August 2006, when they played a two-match series in England.

“I haven’t read the article but people came and spoke to me about it,” Raj said. “Playing the Test game is very important. As a youngster I played a lot of days-games, which helped to build my temperament. Once you’re a very good Test player you can adapt to T20 or one-day games.”

Would she like to see India play Test matches again? “Yes definitely, because the ultimate challenge is the Test game.” I was intrigued to know just what the India captain’s profile is like in India, after Edulji suggested that Raj, the number one batter in the women’s game, wouldn’t be recognised if she walked into a restaurant in her home country. “I think more often people relate to me by my name. If I get introduced then they’re like, ‘ah, you’re a woman cricketer,’ but because I’m not very often on television people don’t recognise me by my face, but definitely by my name.”

Pakistan are in Group B, and playing their early-stage matches in Cuttack for security reasons. While there have been no reports of trouble during any of their warm-up matches, it was security considerations which led to the Pakistan players being put up in the club house of the Barabati Stadium rather than a hotel in nearby Bhubaneswar, like the other teams. Logistics were also an issue with hotels struggling to accommodate four squads at short notice, but there was also talk about hotels being wary of hosting the Pakistan team. There have been no complaints from players though. One bonus is that Pakistan don't have the hour long journey to the ground and back that the other teams will have to take.

West Indies captain Melissa Aguillera revealed that the team have been practising a dance to rival the men's infamous Gangnam Style celebration that Chris Gayle pioneered during last year's World T20 in Sri Lanka. It had a run out in their recent successful series against South Africa, but all the smiling Aguillera would admit is, "it takes more than one person!" Eight of the West Indies team are contacted to the WICB, meaning Aguillera can let her career, hairdressing, take a back seat for a while, as she is paid to play and receives match fees. She still dabbles in it part time and she laughs infectiously as she admits to often getting requests from team members to help them out with their 'do's'. "I'm always there to deliver!"

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Posted by ASHWAS VARMA on (February 2, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

I was watching the recent world cup match between India and west indies but was so disappointed to see very few spectators except some school children to cheer up the performance of the Indian women team including the century by Kamini. It is high time The BCCI the richest board in the world does some more involvement and spend some more money in promoting and Advertising of women cricket in India and make people aware that a world cup women cricket match is going on in India and to make them go to watch the match live at the stadium and encourage our women team to boost their performance in the field. I HOPE THE ICC SHOULD MONITER THE PROCEEDINGS AND BE AWARE OF IT,

Posted by Chandru on (January 31, 2013, 18:35 GMT)

Kudos to team India! You made us proud girls! Tirush, Niranjana, Julan ,Raut... well done! keep it up! What an utility player Julan is... both with the bat and the ball. bowling average of 1.6 R.P.O. outstanding... why did Mithali drop herself down in the order? anyway, all is well that ends well. I once again salute you girls! But, it wasn't a great sight to see not many in the stadium and to hear the feable claps during the presentation. The team deserves more spectator support

Posted by nag on (January 31, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

it is the onus of ICC to make WCC more interesting but bending the rules like increasing powerplay overs, reducing boundry distances, etc. This will make the matches high scoring and attract more audience. Also, as anyways stadiums will run empty, they must encourage school children(ladies especially) to come and watch the matches for free. I am an Indian, and i feel sad that all matches are being held only in Mumbai and Cuttack. Why cant a couple of matches be played in chennai and bangalore(where cricket audience is very good)

Posted by jimbond on (January 31, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

Let women's cricket get no favours from men's cricket. They will one day earn their due, and get the fame and recognition they will deserve. Even the men's team has gone through a much leaner period in the past and if you look at Indian cricket, it has been stalwards like Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, and Sachin among others - who have helped to popularise the game and make it visible. Contrast this with cricket or badminton where the women's teams are equally if not more visible as compared to the male teams- courtesy- Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa etc. When cricket gets these stars, people will notice them.

Posted by Bibhuti on (January 31, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

Women cricket will be highlighted when Indian women wins the trophy in WORLD Cup format.Any format of cricket is highlighted due to India nobody else.Even if Australia wins 30 times it will not be noticed but one time win by India in world cup it will change the scenario of Women's world.So all the world should pray that India should win World cup so that whole world will see the changes.am I right.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 30, 2013, 20:41 GMT)

"Do you know a World Cup is about to begin". I do indeed Alison, and will be following it as closely as I can with a sense of sheer pride. I don't believe in the slighest that, as some posters have put it, the sport is 'dying out', quite the opposite. Women's sport universally has and is suffering from the same stagnation, but I challenge anyone to claim otherwise that there hasn't been progress since the early 1990's. What the womens' teams need at this time is the support of loyal fans, just like the mens teams' do.

Posted by Shil on (January 30, 2013, 19:18 GMT)

@Ankush - Weird, yes, but not surprising. People generally go where the advertising/media hoopla is, so the lack of coverage that the World Cup is getting contributes dramatically to its lack of attention. That's why the arguments from some posters on Cricinfo that the women's game doesn't get attention because of a lack of quality is so wrongheaded. Media attention and coverage tends to lead to spectatorship, not the other way around.

Posted by Ahad on (January 30, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

The womens game is definetely dying out. I sadly live in Saudi Arabia so can't watch any live matches in the grounds, but when I watch it on TV I am saddened by how nobody comes to watch games. Women are defintely equal to men and should be treated fairly. In the end, it's the quality of the cricket that counts so shouldn't the women and men games be advertised in a fair way showing the spirit of cricket and not anything else.

Posted by Pranav on (January 30, 2013, 18:52 GMT)

I think one way to generate publicty would be to have a couple of them be in some kind of commercial on TV... Become a household name and show how its a matter to pride to be representing the country in the respective sports. Maybe have a rule to include 2 women in every IPL Team!!

Posted by Amitabh on (January 30, 2013, 18:44 GMT)

I had no idea a World Cup was about to begin. Perhaps if India win and an inspirational movie along the lines of 'Chak De India' is made, then people would sit up and take notice? There is nothing that leads me to believe that cricket is a viable career path for women in India. I'm grateful, though, that at least the game is played. If a girl wishes, she can take up the game. She'd better come from a well-to-do family, however, since she won't make much money from it.

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