ICC Women's World Cup 2013 February 5, 2013

What now for India?

It has been a World Cup full of drama and surprises, and none more so than Sri Lanka making the Super Sixes at the expense of hosts India
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It has been a World Cup full of drama and surprises, and none more so than Sri Lanka making the Super Sixes at the expense of hosts India. The general feeling seemed to be that Sri Lanka had already had their big win of the tournament. Many journalists and commentators felt that the historic victory over England was a one off and they wouldn't have it in them to repeat it – particularly after suffering such a hefty defeat to West Indies. That was a gross underestimation.

Clare Connor, head of women's cricket at the ECB, and chair of the ICC Women's Committee tweeted, "India about to crash out of the World Cup. Shame for them as hosts and for women's cricket in India. On flip side, SL so impressive."

Sri Lanka women's international cricket spawned out of the euphoria of the men's World Cup win in 1996. A few more sparkling performances in the Super Sixes could lead to a swell of interest there that the game so craves. I would love to know the extent to which Sri Lanka's performances are catching the imagination of the public on the island.

One wonders which way the BCCI will go from here. It is difficult for the women to request greater funding and increased investment after exiting their home World Cup early. Then again, there must be a case for the BCCI to beef up resources to ensure this doesn't happen again. Sri Lanka have benefitted from much improved support from Sri Lanka Cricket in the last couple of years, as I noted in my blog after the England win. India now face the ignominy of having to go through World Cup qualifying in order to even take part in the next tournament in four years time.

***

England players Holly Colvin, Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt are among a number of players who have taken time out of training at the World Cup to help out with the Room to Read initiative, which is supported by the ICC and aims to increase literacy among disadvantaged children. Whilst the wide, grassy maidans of Mumbai are mostly full of male cricketers at the weekend, it was an all girl group which took part in a training session run by the three players on the outfield at the Cricket Club of India.

The girls all came from slum areas in the Colaba district of Mumbai. Several hailed from the Banjara tribal group – traditionally a nomadic people, who are trying to settle, according to Room to Read state manager Neelima Arvind Naik.

“Most of the girls come from a very very poor background, where the parents are very low wage earners," she told me. "They’re also first generation learners. I’d say 90% of their parents are absolutely illiterate.

“Room to Read works in ten countries. The objective everywhere is to establish a reading habit among children. We work in collaboration with governments to demonstrate how this can be done, by creating a library."

The girls at the CCI all attend Colaba Muncipal Secondary School, and they practised for three days in order to be ready to meet the England players, such was their excitement. They had met some members of the India women's team before but they rarely get the chance to meet players from other countries. However, they told Neelima that their legs felt particularly tired after all the practise because they weren't able to have any rest afterwards.

"The girls all said to me, 'after cricket we had to go home and work, clean vessels, wash clothes and do all the house chores.'"

Neelima says a certain difference is evident in both boys and girls after they have learnt to read.

"Educated children can bring change in the world," she said. "I see a great confidence developing in the girls. In our libraries the kids are completely enveloped in the world of books. It's where they get exposure, not just to the literary world, but to the world outside.

"Naturally the confidence leads to all other areas of their life - their decision making, their academic achievements. So there is a slow impact on all angles of life."

That confidence was evident, as suddenly the girls gathered in a circle and the coaches became the students. Within seconds, Colvin, Beaumont and Wyatt were being taught a dance by the energetic, smiling girls from Mumbai.

***

Okay, so if you saw a tall girl in a red shirt dancing in the stands with the fans and the drums during the India-Sri Lanka game, it was me. The TV cameras picked me up having a whale of a time between commentary stints, and taking a few pointers on Hindi dance moves from my new found friends. As far as my professional career goes though, I think I'll be sticking to the cricket!

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on February 8, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    Indian Women progressively went down in performance from first to third game Batting plunged from 270 runs to 150 in 3 games & bowling conceded increased runs from 170 to 283. This shows lack of stamina & endurance. These women are not well to do financially & BCCI does pays them ZERO salary NOT $ ! million or $1/2 million contract as to Men.You ask what next for Indian Women Cricketer? My answer is put them on a financial contracts even if it is $10K/year!. This will help their endurance & stamina.Secondly I greatly appreciate what England Women Cricketers have done to help the local school girls. This gesture is far more appreciated when local BCCI does Zilch for them.

  • Brian Thomas on February 8, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    Sri Lankan girls are very skillful. Its their natural ability and talent that helped them to outclass India.

    India had a off day. They need to realize the BCCI can only support them financialy, and help them in improving their skill levels, i suppose they took Sri Lanka for granted.

    They paid the penalty for not realising that the Islanders are blessed with natural cricketing skills and have abundant inborn skills similar to the west Indians.

    Mitchel i enjoyed your dance, that was great, enjoy the rest of the series.

  • Aylanee on February 6, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    Alison, This is in response to know how we are reacting to our Team's performances. From the very young to the old,males and females and people of all walks of life are not only watching the matches but it is the hot topic in sitting room conversations. I think what has taken the public by storm is seeing the Sri Lankan spirit with which the girls are playing for which we loved our men's team in 1996. Undoubtedly the star whom everybody is talking about is "Kaushi". Thanks to you, Mel Allen and others for all the positive remarks about SL on commentary and Sanjay M.for being Kaushi's biggest fan!! Our thanks to Harsha, Mr Aroos and others working behind the scenes. I would like to place on record our thanks and gratitude to Mrs Gwen Herath who worked untiringly towards SL Women's cricket.

  • Syd (@FairgroundTown) on February 6, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    It wasn't just the media who assumed SL (and Pakistan) would roll over and die - the horribly complex points system seems to have been predicated on it, no? Even if England weren't actually trying to butter-up WI's Net Run Rate in the (mistaken and ultimately irrelevant) attempt to carry two extra points into the Sixes, it sure LOOKED like they were trying to, and it was somewhat bizarre to say the least.

  • Dulitha on February 6, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    Since you wanted to know how the crowd supports the women's game, I must say the Sri Lankans supporting Cricket in general are behind them already and it's building. I'm sure no one expected Sri Lanka to make it through to the Super Sixes at the start of the tournament but the girls have done it. I dearly wish to see more surprises in Super Sixes !

  • Tharindu on February 6, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    No one was interested in women's cricket a week ago in Sri Lanka, but now the whole island is behind the Girls in Blue. It really helps that Star Cricket telecasted the match live and many people were even live-chatting about the match in Facebook. Hope, SL girls will win against SA and NZ and qualify for Final. All the best.

  • Dinku on February 6, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    I would say many players does not deserve to be in an international team! Players like thirush Kamini just dont know how to find gap for a single, even when she scored a century she took 140 balls to score with too many dot balls.But she could be good for test version. Also I wonder whether they only have 11 players available with none to replace mediocore wicket keeper, spinner sultana , Neelam ,the other opener who always get lbw while trying to cross bat !Mithaly also replaced as she is utter useless as caption. only players should be in the eleven are Hamanpreet kaur, Niranjana(who got restricted by stupid field placing of Mithaly),jhulan goswami and the other spinner.

  • shankar on February 6, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    the women's cricket is still to be recognized by the public in our country.........and words like "SHAME FOR THEM AS HOSTS AND WOMEN'S CRICKET IN INDIA" doesn't help at all...........i agree that the run margin between the two teams is very huge considering SL as minnows...but i hope they will improve and set up inspirations for our future generation cricketers..........but as said SL IS SO IMPRESSIVE...........but i hate the way our cricket board hosted the tournament by giving away the venue which is been booked much earlier for the sake of a national domestic season final for the sake of one man,even though he is THE GOD OF CRICKET........but pls be kind on us.

  • Anuja on February 6, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    Your moves were quite entertaining.Its disappointing to see India bow out of the tournament considering this was their best chance to win the cup. A lots needs to be done at the domestic level along with planning for the future.There's no dearth of talent as far as players are concerned. May be get a club system in place so that more and more matches are played throughout the year.

  • Jeewantha Bandara on February 6, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    Interest is sky high at the moment. I can guarantee you that. Everybody is watching the world cup now. Yesterday, I watched the entire match, with my parents and 2 sisters. It was really great. The whole island is fired up for the Super Sixes. I feel that there is more to be seen by our girls in this world cup.

  • Nampally on February 8, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    Indian Women progressively went down in performance from first to third game Batting plunged from 270 runs to 150 in 3 games & bowling conceded increased runs from 170 to 283. This shows lack of stamina & endurance. These women are not well to do financially & BCCI does pays them ZERO salary NOT $ ! million or $1/2 million contract as to Men.You ask what next for Indian Women Cricketer? My answer is put them on a financial contracts even if it is $10K/year!. This will help their endurance & stamina.Secondly I greatly appreciate what England Women Cricketers have done to help the local school girls. This gesture is far more appreciated when local BCCI does Zilch for them.

  • Brian Thomas on February 8, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    Sri Lankan girls are very skillful. Its their natural ability and talent that helped them to outclass India.

    India had a off day. They need to realize the BCCI can only support them financialy, and help them in improving their skill levels, i suppose they took Sri Lanka for granted.

    They paid the penalty for not realising that the Islanders are blessed with natural cricketing skills and have abundant inborn skills similar to the west Indians.

    Mitchel i enjoyed your dance, that was great, enjoy the rest of the series.

  • Aylanee on February 6, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    Alison, This is in response to know how we are reacting to our Team's performances. From the very young to the old,males and females and people of all walks of life are not only watching the matches but it is the hot topic in sitting room conversations. I think what has taken the public by storm is seeing the Sri Lankan spirit with which the girls are playing for which we loved our men's team in 1996. Undoubtedly the star whom everybody is talking about is "Kaushi". Thanks to you, Mel Allen and others for all the positive remarks about SL on commentary and Sanjay M.for being Kaushi's biggest fan!! Our thanks to Harsha, Mr Aroos and others working behind the scenes. I would like to place on record our thanks and gratitude to Mrs Gwen Herath who worked untiringly towards SL Women's cricket.

  • Syd (@FairgroundTown) on February 6, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    It wasn't just the media who assumed SL (and Pakistan) would roll over and die - the horribly complex points system seems to have been predicated on it, no? Even if England weren't actually trying to butter-up WI's Net Run Rate in the (mistaken and ultimately irrelevant) attempt to carry two extra points into the Sixes, it sure LOOKED like they were trying to, and it was somewhat bizarre to say the least.

  • Dulitha on February 6, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    Since you wanted to know how the crowd supports the women's game, I must say the Sri Lankans supporting Cricket in general are behind them already and it's building. I'm sure no one expected Sri Lanka to make it through to the Super Sixes at the start of the tournament but the girls have done it. I dearly wish to see more surprises in Super Sixes !

  • Tharindu on February 6, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    No one was interested in women's cricket a week ago in Sri Lanka, but now the whole island is behind the Girls in Blue. It really helps that Star Cricket telecasted the match live and many people were even live-chatting about the match in Facebook. Hope, SL girls will win against SA and NZ and qualify for Final. All the best.

  • Dinku on February 6, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    I would say many players does not deserve to be in an international team! Players like thirush Kamini just dont know how to find gap for a single, even when she scored a century she took 140 balls to score with too many dot balls.But she could be good for test version. Also I wonder whether they only have 11 players available with none to replace mediocore wicket keeper, spinner sultana , Neelam ,the other opener who always get lbw while trying to cross bat !Mithaly also replaced as she is utter useless as caption. only players should be in the eleven are Hamanpreet kaur, Niranjana(who got restricted by stupid field placing of Mithaly),jhulan goswami and the other spinner.

  • shankar on February 6, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    the women's cricket is still to be recognized by the public in our country.........and words like "SHAME FOR THEM AS HOSTS AND WOMEN'S CRICKET IN INDIA" doesn't help at all...........i agree that the run margin between the two teams is very huge considering SL as minnows...but i hope they will improve and set up inspirations for our future generation cricketers..........but as said SL IS SO IMPRESSIVE...........but i hate the way our cricket board hosted the tournament by giving away the venue which is been booked much earlier for the sake of a national domestic season final for the sake of one man,even though he is THE GOD OF CRICKET........but pls be kind on us.

  • Anuja on February 6, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    Your moves were quite entertaining.Its disappointing to see India bow out of the tournament considering this was their best chance to win the cup. A lots needs to be done at the domestic level along with planning for the future.There's no dearth of talent as far as players are concerned. May be get a club system in place so that more and more matches are played throughout the year.

  • Jeewantha Bandara on February 6, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    Interest is sky high at the moment. I can guarantee you that. Everybody is watching the world cup now. Yesterday, I watched the entire match, with my parents and 2 sisters. It was really great. The whole island is fired up for the Super Sixes. I feel that there is more to be seen by our girls in this world cup.

  • alex on February 6, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    India just had bad and overconfident captain who is sole reason for the loss

  • Pratik on February 5, 2013, 22:26 GMT

    "grassy maidens of Mumbai are mostly full of male cricketers at the weekend" That's what she said.

  • rp8085 on February 5, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    Sorry couldn't resist this one:

    "Whilst the wide, grassy maidens of Mumbai are mostly full of male cricketers" Surely you meant maidans! :)

  • Nutcutlet on February 5, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    (Yeah, you looked to be having fun, Alison! It made entertaining watching;-) Your article, however, raises serious points about the treatment of girls/ young women in India & it was great to hear of the Room to Read initiative & the fact that some of the Eng women's team had taken time out to show some interest in enthusing some of the local girls. Well done to them! Beyond that, it's quite clear that womens's cricket in India is standing still, whilst other countries are zooming past. This is yet another matter that needs to be laid at the door of the BCCI - the richest board in the world. The SL girls are contracted, trained, match-fit & obviously have their board solidly behind them. Unless & until the BCCI decides to invest in the future of women's cricket in India, giving it a proper structure & training programme, then India will become a regular 'also ran' in high profile comps. Do they care? Probably not. Where's the profit in women's cricket - that's all they care about.

  • Varaha Anupoju on February 5, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Our woman cricketers played for a exit. i never seen the winning attitute. when bowlers costing runs, i dont see captain go to them and encourage to bowl good? Also captain comments firedup match against england. Our players just speak like politicians but others dont speak but act on our speakings. Its a shame for india.

  • Chatura Ranaweera on February 5, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    I must say that I had no idea SL had a women's team until last week. Now I know and I will of course be a firm supporter from now on. Knowing the exploits of the men's team, I have no doubt that if there is interest in the country, SL women will be world cup contenders soon. I am afraid that may not be the best news for England and others!!

  • Someone on February 5, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    It is not such a bad thing, and could actually be a blessing in disguise. The men's team has reached new lows of patheticness, and I hope they continue going down even further. 5 or 6 below-50 scores in the SA Test series, 2 day finishes would help.

    Eventually India retire from all forms of the game, and we can save the time which we currently waste watching these matches. No matter how hard you try, there's always a temptation to watch the match.

    That would also put an end to the stupid IPL, and millions of rupees of wasted money, not to mention the electricity wasted over floodlights, cheerleaders and stuff.

    It is also good for the game as the big bully will be gone from the ICC table, and mr. conflict of interest may finally come on the road (who wants his Chennai Super Cement anyway?)

  • SP on February 5, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    Some very ignorant, thoughtless statements made in relation to women's cricket these days: First, Indian captain's comments about strong and weak sides only fired up both those sides, while Allison Mitchell's statement about "shame" is garbage. Why should a team be ashamed of losing? The better teams - in this case, those who had better strategies, discipline - won, while teams that made premature comments and couldn't follow up, lost. Grow up, if you think people might be interested to follow the sport, and look up England and Australia's records if you are under the illusion that they have not suffered losses in their history (as hosts).

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  • SP on February 5, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    Some very ignorant, thoughtless statements made in relation to women's cricket these days: First, Indian captain's comments about strong and weak sides only fired up both those sides, while Allison Mitchell's statement about "shame" is garbage. Why should a team be ashamed of losing? The better teams - in this case, those who had better strategies, discipline - won, while teams that made premature comments and couldn't follow up, lost. Grow up, if you think people might be interested to follow the sport, and look up England and Australia's records if you are under the illusion that they have not suffered losses in their history (as hosts).

  • Someone on February 5, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    It is not such a bad thing, and could actually be a blessing in disguise. The men's team has reached new lows of patheticness, and I hope they continue going down even further. 5 or 6 below-50 scores in the SA Test series, 2 day finishes would help.

    Eventually India retire from all forms of the game, and we can save the time which we currently waste watching these matches. No matter how hard you try, there's always a temptation to watch the match.

    That would also put an end to the stupid IPL, and millions of rupees of wasted money, not to mention the electricity wasted over floodlights, cheerleaders and stuff.

    It is also good for the game as the big bully will be gone from the ICC table, and mr. conflict of interest may finally come on the road (who wants his Chennai Super Cement anyway?)

  • Chatura Ranaweera on February 5, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    I must say that I had no idea SL had a women's team until last week. Now I know and I will of course be a firm supporter from now on. Knowing the exploits of the men's team, I have no doubt that if there is interest in the country, SL women will be world cup contenders soon. I am afraid that may not be the best news for England and others!!

  • Varaha Anupoju on February 5, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Our woman cricketers played for a exit. i never seen the winning attitute. when bowlers costing runs, i dont see captain go to them and encourage to bowl good? Also captain comments firedup match against england. Our players just speak like politicians but others dont speak but act on our speakings. Its a shame for india.

  • Nutcutlet on February 5, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    (Yeah, you looked to be having fun, Alison! It made entertaining watching;-) Your article, however, raises serious points about the treatment of girls/ young women in India & it was great to hear of the Room to Read initiative & the fact that some of the Eng women's team had taken time out to show some interest in enthusing some of the local girls. Well done to them! Beyond that, it's quite clear that womens's cricket in India is standing still, whilst other countries are zooming past. This is yet another matter that needs to be laid at the door of the BCCI - the richest board in the world. The SL girls are contracted, trained, match-fit & obviously have their board solidly behind them. Unless & until the BCCI decides to invest in the future of women's cricket in India, giving it a proper structure & training programme, then India will become a regular 'also ran' in high profile comps. Do they care? Probably not. Where's the profit in women's cricket - that's all they care about.

  • rp8085 on February 5, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    Sorry couldn't resist this one:

    "Whilst the wide, grassy maidens of Mumbai are mostly full of male cricketers" Surely you meant maidans! :)

  • Pratik on February 5, 2013, 22:26 GMT

    "grassy maidens of Mumbai are mostly full of male cricketers at the weekend" That's what she said.

  • alex on February 6, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    India just had bad and overconfident captain who is sole reason for the loss

  • Jeewantha Bandara on February 6, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    Interest is sky high at the moment. I can guarantee you that. Everybody is watching the world cup now. Yesterday, I watched the entire match, with my parents and 2 sisters. It was really great. The whole island is fired up for the Super Sixes. I feel that there is more to be seen by our girls in this world cup.

  • Anuja on February 6, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    Your moves were quite entertaining.Its disappointing to see India bow out of the tournament considering this was their best chance to win the cup. A lots needs to be done at the domestic level along with planning for the future.There's no dearth of talent as far as players are concerned. May be get a club system in place so that more and more matches are played throughout the year.