February 5, 2013

ICC Women's World Cup 2013

What now for India?

Alison Mitchell
Members of the England women's team work on their Indian dance skills, Mumbai, February 5, 2013
In the groove: members of the England team work on their dance moves with some local help  © Alison Mitchell
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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.

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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!

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Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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 !

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

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