ICC Women's World Cup 2013 January 27, 2013

Captains hope for strong crowds


Jhulan Goswami, along with a couple of her India Women team-mates, sauntered through the lobby of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai. Not one of the few people present turned her way to acknowledge they were watching the second-most successful bowler in women's cricket. Outside the hotel, the Sunday crowd continued to throng the seafront alongside the Gateway of India. A few stopped to take photographs. Not of Goswami, but of the landmark hotel, completely unaware that seven international teams were staying there.

There is a World Cup in town, a cricket World Cup at that. It has been in the news because some people didn't want a particular team coming over while other people wanted a particular stadium for their own use, to the exclusion of the women. Over the next three weeks, the tenth Women's World Cup, to be held in Mumbai and Cuttack, will strive to make headlines for the cricket played by the eight participating teams.

The captains of four of them, hosts India, England, Sri Lanka and West Indies, were present at the tournament's first press event, attended by a generous gathering of journalists and cameramen.

The general public may remain largely ignorant, or indifferent, but the players know how much progress has been made on the ground. Charlotte Edwards, captain of defending champions England and one of the game's greats, spoke of how far women's cricket had come from the time she scored 173* in Pune a day before her 18th birthday, in the 1997 World Cup.

"My first time was when I was 17, a quite memorable one, first time I think I had been out of England," Edwards said. "Now with the ICC and the professionalisation that has come in, is fantastic. I think it is safe to say that the game today is unrecognisable from when I played back in 1997. The games are televised now, which they weren't back in 1997. Very proud of where the game is at the moment.

"Recent ICC events have shown that the game is becoming popular. I have heard we are attracting loads of young girls who want to play the game. That is the most important thing for us as players. I think we have changed people's perceptions about women's cricket a lot. Hopefully this tournament will be another step in hammering that message home."

Mithali Raj, the India captain and another big name, was hopeful of substantial turnouts at the grounds. "It is a great moment," she said. "It is the first time after 1997 that we are hosting a World Cup, [and] under the BCCI. The kind of media attention and awareness is great. So I am hoping a lot of people will turn up for the matches."

Raj said the best way to popularise the women's game was to have matches on television. Not only World Cup or World Twenty20 matches, but also bilateral games. "Lot of people question me about the follow-up of women's cricket. It would be nice if more games are televised when we tour abroad," Raj said. "Most of them follow Star Cricket, ESPN, where, if women's cricket is televised, then gradually it will catch people's awareness. Some of the girls are definitely known faces. Not only the ICC tournaments, but also two-nation series like England v India or Australia v India should be televised on good cricketing channels for them to follow women's cricket."

This World Cup will be broadcast live on television alright. Now only if those grounds could be filled.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris on January 29, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    Where are the fans? this is not a 'world' cup I'm sorry to say but a joke!!! Cricket has problems and needs to globalize because the sport especially Test Cricket is seeing low attendances and losing popularity.

  • Shoaib on January 28, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Absolutely agree with Mr All Way and Mr Cricket, silly calling this as a 'world' cup even Rugby, Baseball and other team sports have more teams playing in big tournaments than Cricket. We lost Kenya but we can't afford to lose the others Ireland, Afghanistan, Netherlands, Scotland even Canada in order for Cricket to survive in the long term.

  • Nasser on January 28, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    We Pakistanis are supporting Pakistan all the way; and also wish for a very successful world cup all round - INSHALLAH!

  • Khub on January 28, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    @All_The_Way...totally agree wid u, 8 teams perticipating nd called it 'World' cup! thats y cricket is unpopular game.... look at football, there is quota 4 evry continent in wrld cup, fifa doesnt say 2 d low ranked teams 'y diz low quality teamz playing football?' like cricket, rather dey tried nd make interested d new teams...

  • Chris on January 28, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    8 teams and you still call it a 'world' cup that's Cricket for you unpopular sport :D

  • Dummy4 on January 28, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    WCC 2013 strong performance by India women can really change our perspective towards the their game ,like men's 1983 world cup win strengthen Indian cricket ..it started reaching smaller towns .With more professionalism coming into women's game its generating postive vibes for glories future .broadcast live on television they will surely get more fans .

  • $$ milind on January 28, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    The future of Indian Women's Cricket lies in this team... It will take a astronomical performance from the Indian girls 2 put up a performance.... If this team can go at least into the semi-finals I am sure India's women cricket can be stabilizzed for the upcoming years

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    Women's Cricket Took backstage in India when BCCI accepted Mumbai's request to play in Wankhede Stadium for the final vs saurashtra. What is ICC doing?. It is World Cup be it men's or women's. You have to prioritize ICC events first, then only domestic matches. BCCI plays spoilsport when it comes to Women's Cricket. BCCI have lot of money why can't they play women's matches in well known grounds like bangalore, chennai. Look at the English Girls, they are fit athletes, Indian Women's does seem like they been playing with freedom. They only get 1 lakh per series, how come the manage their life with this. Some one have to come up with right guts to tackle BCCI to stop this arrogance. I only hope India Will win this World Cup to get People's attention in India.

  • Sachin on January 27, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    Come on Mithali and girls won the world cup for India. We all Indians will be following you girls.