ICC Women's World Cup 2013 February 1, 2013

A disgrace no more

Outside of the semi-professional ranks of England, Australia and New Zealand, women's cricket is a disgrace. Almost every team is a minnow
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Outside of the semi-professional ranks of England, Australia and New Zealand, women's cricket is a disgrace. Almost every team is a minnow. South Africa should be disgusted at the lack of funds and professionalism its women team has. India is allowing its women's cricket to dry up. West Indies have only started taking it seriously since two players showed talent. Pakistan should be promoting heroes in all walks of life. And when we are constantly told that Bangladesh is cricket crazy, where are their women?

The ICC hasn't been good enough on this either.

Paying the women less per diems at the World Twenty20 was wrong, and sent a terrible message. The organisation of this tournament has been amateur. And why hasn't the ICC forced all countries to turn their women's teams into professional outfits. No Test playing nation should receive any revenue from ICC tournaments if they do not intend to use at least five percent of it on women's cricket.

It's 2013, and this is a billion-dollar game. The Women's World Cup is being transmitted around the world, these women deserve to be paid and treated like professional athletes. And if you want to know the difference between amateur women's cricket, and professional women's cricket, you just have to watch a replay of Sri Lanka's win over England.

In the last World Cup, the Sri Lankan women were horrible. They looked like a club team that had been cobbled together and told to play in a World Cup for their country.

Someone in the Sri Lankan government must have been embarrassed by that.

You won't get a bigger critic of the Sri Lankan government's treatment of cricket. They approve the selections, place old politicians in the teams, and have generally held back Sri Lankan cricket on and off the field with their own politics. But, one of them also made the decision that today, led to their women winning their first ever match against England, the World Champions.

That decision was to move women's cricketers into the armed forces. Allowing them to dedicate their entire working life to becoming better cricketers. Today the proof was right on the screen.

The Sri Lankan team were chasing 239, their openers built a foundation, one hitting, the other blocking. They gave their middle order a chance, and then at No. 7 a woman Eshani Kaushalya came in and took seven balls to get off the mark. At first I thought she was out of her depth. I thought that perhaps Sri Lanka had a few decent top-order players and their middle order had nothing.

Then Kaushalya hit out. She took the spinners back over their heads, she slogged when she had to, and much like when Kevin O'Brien slogged the men's team, the England women completely lost the plot.

England were never supposed to be in a competitive game. They were playing a minnow. Just turning out and executing their skill sets, as the cricketers say, would be enough. Now they were being slogged around the park by a middle-order Sri Lankan with an average of 15, with one fifty to her name and two sixes in her 47 match career.

England's cricket world collapsed. The English girls usually field like hawks, now they were fielding like a Sunday pub side. Jenny Gunn is usually frugal and hard to get away; she was tossing up dribble ball after ball. Elwiss dropped a catch that she's taken in fielding practice 10,000 times.

Earlier on the Sri Lankan girls would have hoped for a plucky display and some sort of moral victory that they weren't minnows anymore. Instead they crashed into the last over needing nine runs to win.

The last over was amazing.

Starting with a single to short fine leg to Surangika, Sri Lanka needed eight to win from five balls, and Kaushalya was on 49 from 39 balls.

Instead of showing any nerves, Kaushalya smacked a six over square leg. She celebrated like she had won the game, when in fact they still needed two from four.

The next ball Kaushalya tried to do the same thing, but hit it straight up in the air. The ball took a while to come down, and while it did, Kaushalya was smart enough to remain in Elwiss' eyeline as she was about to take the chance that could have won England the game. Instead, she dropped it.

England briefly complained that Kaushalya had obstructed the field, but the replays showed Kaushalya had played it brilliantly, running off the pitch and in the general direction of Elwiss without ever actually getting in her way. Genius cricket, and tieing the scores.

The next ball she was run out when Surangika smacked the ball straight to mid-off, and Kaushalya ran, and Surangika did not. England had enough of their composure left to complete the run-out with ease.

Now Sri Lanka were nine wickets down - the scores were tied - and Surangika, the Sri Lankan keeper who has batted in every position from 3-11, had to score one run for victory off the last two balls.

She smacked the penultimate ball straight to point, no run. Instead of coming down to chat to her partner, she walked off to square leg to get rid of her frustration.

Now the game was set up perfectly. Underdogs up against the powerhouse of their sport, the reigning champions. Nine wickets down. Scores tied. A game televised around the world.

Surangika dealt with that by hitting a six. Her first ever international six. To win the first ever game against England for her country.

It was not an exciting game of women's cricket, it was exciting cricket. It was about as far from a disgrace as you can get.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jayanta on February 9, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    Nicely written sports story.

  • Philip Gnana on February 7, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    Great write up here Jarrod. Very entertaining to read. At least the SL Board/Government has done something positive. Credit to them too. But, it is the ladies who have to be given all the plaudits. I was only following on cricinfo and have enjoyed the replay. The ladies have been playing for sometime but not much improvement has been seen. At last it is the ladies who may end up doing what the guys did in 1996...well who can know.

  • Sarthak on February 2, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    What a description of the last over, Jarrod! How could I miss it?

  • Chatura Ranaweera on February 2, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    It's a great article. I started following the game of women's cricket after this match. Like most Sri Lankans, I follow cricket closely, yet not the women's team. From now, I will pay attention more often, no doubt. But a couple things I disagree with: SL lost to England only by 5 runs last time they met. So, if England thought this match was going to be a walk over, then that shows complete un-professionalism, which contradicts what Jarrod has been saying about the English team. The other point is about SL politicians running cricket. I am certainly not defending SL politicians here. There are many rogues among them. But Western media fails to realize that SL businessmen running cricket is no better than politicians running the game. It is the people who matter, not their label as 'politicians' or a 'businessmen'.

  • Anthony Jerome on February 2, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Congratz team sri lanka (women) this win is really great I will start watching all your future games... well done...Anthony..from.. Taiwan

  • Viranga de Silva on February 2, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Simply a brilliant article, made me feel and immense amount of pride in the character they showed in this run chase, which even sometimes a men's team cannot display...simply brilliant.

  • Anupam on February 2, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Thank you, this is amazing, surprised to see no comments till now. Well done to women's cricket..Cheers!!

  • Mukiw on February 2, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    What an article...I think it's about time we cricket fans started watching womens cricket. Don't think these World Cup matches are broadcasted in Australia though. :-(

  • Andrew on February 2, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    I agree, however cricinfo could help by at least providing ball by ball of every game - bit frustrating to only be getting updates every few overs in some matches.

  • ayamwild on February 2, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    I was eagerly awaiting to watch WI vs Aussie men's match!! Since there was nothing to watch there, through national loyalty tuned in to watch the women's match. Congratz Kimber. You could not have scripted this better. The fighting spirit in the girls that made me watch to the end. And what an end. Perhaps our men's team can get some tips from the women's team !!

  • jayanta on February 9, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    Nicely written sports story.

  • Philip Gnana on February 7, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    Great write up here Jarrod. Very entertaining to read. At least the SL Board/Government has done something positive. Credit to them too. But, it is the ladies who have to be given all the plaudits. I was only following on cricinfo and have enjoyed the replay. The ladies have been playing for sometime but not much improvement has been seen. At last it is the ladies who may end up doing what the guys did in 1996...well who can know.

  • Sarthak on February 2, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    What a description of the last over, Jarrod! How could I miss it?

  • Chatura Ranaweera on February 2, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    It's a great article. I started following the game of women's cricket after this match. Like most Sri Lankans, I follow cricket closely, yet not the women's team. From now, I will pay attention more often, no doubt. But a couple things I disagree with: SL lost to England only by 5 runs last time they met. So, if England thought this match was going to be a walk over, then that shows complete un-professionalism, which contradicts what Jarrod has been saying about the English team. The other point is about SL politicians running cricket. I am certainly not defending SL politicians here. There are many rogues among them. But Western media fails to realize that SL businessmen running cricket is no better than politicians running the game. It is the people who matter, not their label as 'politicians' or a 'businessmen'.

  • Anthony Jerome on February 2, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Congratz team sri lanka (women) this win is really great I will start watching all your future games... well done...Anthony..from.. Taiwan

  • Viranga de Silva on February 2, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Simply a brilliant article, made me feel and immense amount of pride in the character they showed in this run chase, which even sometimes a men's team cannot display...simply brilliant.

  • Anupam on February 2, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Thank you, this is amazing, surprised to see no comments till now. Well done to women's cricket..Cheers!!

  • Mukiw on February 2, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    What an article...I think it's about time we cricket fans started watching womens cricket. Don't think these World Cup matches are broadcasted in Australia though. :-(

  • Andrew on February 2, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    I agree, however cricinfo could help by at least providing ball by ball of every game - bit frustrating to only be getting updates every few overs in some matches.

  • ayamwild on February 2, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    I was eagerly awaiting to watch WI vs Aussie men's match!! Since there was nothing to watch there, through national loyalty tuned in to watch the women's match. Congratz Kimber. You could not have scripted this better. The fighting spirit in the girls that made me watch to the end. And what an end. Perhaps our men's team can get some tips from the women's team !!

  • Chamal on February 2, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Almost in tears I went through this article. What a victory for Sri Lankan cricket. Despite all the hardships, the true grit you showed was simply amazing. Embark on a slow and steady journey and one day you all will put us on the world map. Go Lionesses Go !

  • TD_160 on February 2, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Great performance by the SL girls! Kimber's right - the last Women's WC was embarassing. They even lost to Pakistan Women, who they'd only lost to once in 20-odd games before that. They've actually been one of the better minnows in women's cricket over the last 10 years or so. The reason they were so ordinary in 2009 probably had as much to do with commitment as it did with a lack of professionalism. The team manager from the '09 World Cup wrote a letter to the Lankan board reporting that players were late turning up to training or didn't turn up at all on several occasions. If they can now beat WI Women and make the semis, they'll well and truly have redeemed themselves.

  • MaxG9 on February 2, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Great stuff Sri Lanka girls, especially Kaushalya & Athapaththu though others contributed well too including the Captain. Now set your sights higher. A win against India could probably see you'll get into the Super Sixer's with maximum points carried forward. And who knows what will happen from there onwards.

  • Anonymous on February 2, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    Great story. Felt like I was there watching it with the enthusiasm you put into your descriptions. Thanks Jarrod for a well balanced and honest look at women's cricket

  • Charindra on February 2, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Great work ladies!!! This is already changing perceptions about women's cricket. Maybe someday women's cricket will be filled with women who have great strength in their forearms and legs, without being bulky or masculine. A good example from men's cricket would be Sanath Jayasuriya, as opposed to Chris Gayle.

  • Bhadra on February 2, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    I would love to watch women's cricket but I am not sure how to:( I mean so far asi know no channel is broadcasting it in Malaysia.

  • Dale on February 2, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    It was one of the best matches i have seen in a while! well done to the ladies, and im sure they will provide us with absolute entertainment during this WC

  • Nelly on February 2, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    So glad for Sri Lanka. The match didn't air on tv here so I could only watch the scorecard all night, at one point I did lose hope but clearly I was wrong. Amazing match.

  • Anonymous on February 2, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    nice article ! makes me feel like i missed a great match.

  • Sach on February 2, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    Haha "It was about as far from a disgrace as you can get" Beautifully put.

  • Lakshman on February 2, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    Attaboy Kimber. Keep writing the good stuff, enjoying your honesty and insight.

  • Kavindu on February 1, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    "Outside of the semi-professional ranks of England, Australia and New Zealand, women's cricket is a disgrace"....India ain't bad...

  • PiertoPub on February 1, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    Awesome! Congratulations to SLW Cricket and hope girls will get into final and win! P.S. Gr8 write by Kimber!

  • jim harrison on February 1, 2013, 23:13 GMT

    Couldnt agree more..Listened to game on sports extra while out with my dog and it was one of the best games ive listened to ever.Great commentary as well

  • Oshada Rukshan Samaranayake on February 1, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    Hey Jarrod, are you becoming the next Tony Greg for SL? lol Well noted mate, always enjoy your articles, as you call a spade a spade. Keep the great work coming.

  • Bingo Little on February 1, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    Congrats SL womens team, you have made us all proud. You played with heart and soul and never gave up. So sad to see the empty stadiums, all the best for the rest of the tournament and I hope you recieve a worthy welcome on your return whatever the outcome.

  • Nikhil C on February 1, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    The lack of comments shows our common apathy towards the women's game. Well done Srilankan Women, beat the world champs and brought the game alive. Loved reading about it.

  • Anonymous on February 1, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    As always wonderful,intriguing article Jarrod! She smacked the penultimate ball straight to point, no run. Instead of coming down to chat to her partner, she walked off to square leg to get rid of her frustration. Brilliant!

  • Aatman on February 1, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    It was pretty insane, brilliant article!

  • CricketLover on February 1, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    Congrats Sri Lanka !!! Keep up the good work

  • udendra on February 1, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    well played SL girls. wish u luck for the tournament.

  • RJ on February 1, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    As an Indian fan, this was one of the first women's games I have seen, and truly one of the best games I have seen in recent times independent of gender. Thrilling game with an amazing script and add to that an utterly unfancied team short of experience and infrastructural support (relative to their opponents) outplaying their opponents in a very professional manner. The margin of victory won't suggest so but England were outplayed in all departments. It is amazing to see the women playing quite high-quality cricket for all the bad press or rather no press that they get and surely with fan support and publicity their game can improve even further. They say the men are overburdened with too much cricket because of boards wanting a cricket match every day - if they promote the women's games, the men can relax on half of the days! Cricket can go the Tennis way and the women's game can come on an equal footing. A pipe dream with organisations like ICC and BCCI - but optimism cant harm you.

  • Sathis Dharmasekhara on February 1, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    Today, I'm a proud Sri Lankan as I watched our courageous women's cricket team demolish their mighty English counterparts who are the reigning world champions and theworld's top women's cricket team. Cricket is my passion and I spend countless hours watching it on the tv. I consider I was lucky to have watched this humdinger of a match. It was every bit as exciting as any I've watched in the men's game. Today, our ladies cricket team came of age as they will now have the self belief that they are now a team who will not be easily rolled over. That is why I rate this performance as important as the the men's world cup win in 1996. It is only a first step in the right direction for the women' cricket in Sri Lanka. I hope our women's team will go from strenghth to strength from here on, and wish them all the best. You've really made us proud.

  • Waruna Tennakoon on February 1, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    awesome read, well written. Women's or men, cricket is a beautiful game

  • Kumar on February 1, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Its a great achievement for Sri Lankan Cricket! These girls made the little island proud and we are certain that they have the courage and the ability to bring the World Cup to Sri Lanka! Wish them all the success!

  • jack mendel on February 1, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    brilliant article. Credit for the coverage sky is begining to give more and more

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  • jack mendel on February 1, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    brilliant article. Credit for the coverage sky is begining to give more and more

  • Kumar on February 1, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Its a great achievement for Sri Lankan Cricket! These girls made the little island proud and we are certain that they have the courage and the ability to bring the World Cup to Sri Lanka! Wish them all the success!

  • Waruna Tennakoon on February 1, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    awesome read, well written. Women's or men, cricket is a beautiful game

  • Sathis Dharmasekhara on February 1, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    Today, I'm a proud Sri Lankan as I watched our courageous women's cricket team demolish their mighty English counterparts who are the reigning world champions and theworld's top women's cricket team. Cricket is my passion and I spend countless hours watching it on the tv. I consider I was lucky to have watched this humdinger of a match. It was every bit as exciting as any I've watched in the men's game. Today, our ladies cricket team came of age as they will now have the self belief that they are now a team who will not be easily rolled over. That is why I rate this performance as important as the the men's world cup win in 1996. It is only a first step in the right direction for the women' cricket in Sri Lanka. I hope our women's team will go from strenghth to strength from here on, and wish them all the best. You've really made us proud.

  • RJ on February 1, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    As an Indian fan, this was one of the first women's games I have seen, and truly one of the best games I have seen in recent times independent of gender. Thrilling game with an amazing script and add to that an utterly unfancied team short of experience and infrastructural support (relative to their opponents) outplaying their opponents in a very professional manner. The margin of victory won't suggest so but England were outplayed in all departments. It is amazing to see the women playing quite high-quality cricket for all the bad press or rather no press that they get and surely with fan support and publicity their game can improve even further. They say the men are overburdened with too much cricket because of boards wanting a cricket match every day - if they promote the women's games, the men can relax on half of the days! Cricket can go the Tennis way and the women's game can come on an equal footing. A pipe dream with organisations like ICC and BCCI - but optimism cant harm you.

  • udendra on February 1, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    well played SL girls. wish u luck for the tournament.

  • CricketLover on February 1, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    Congrats Sri Lanka !!! Keep up the good work

  • Aatman on February 1, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    It was pretty insane, brilliant article!

  • Anonymous on February 1, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    As always wonderful,intriguing article Jarrod! She smacked the penultimate ball straight to point, no run. Instead of coming down to chat to her partner, she walked off to square leg to get rid of her frustration. Brilliant!

  • Nikhil C on February 1, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    The lack of comments shows our common apathy towards the women's game. Well done Srilankan Women, beat the world champs and brought the game alive. Loved reading about it.