Euro 2020 Special

Women’s Cricket In India Headed For A Revolution Despite Series Loss To Australia

Women’s cricket in India reached new heights this month as the five-match T20I series between Australia and India attracted unprecedented viewership across the nation, signaling a revolution in the offing for the sport in the cricket-crazy country.

Despite the 4-1 loss that India suffered at the hands of a brilliant Australian team, India’s women cricketers managed to earn appreciation for the sheer talent they displayed during the tour with nearly all fixtures turning out to be thrilling encounters.

With the BCCI finalising the schedule of the inaugural Women’s Indian T20 League, Women’s cricket in India is only bound to reach greater heights. The series between India and Australia, arguably the most heated rivalry in the sport, has managed to generate enough interest for the upcoming league to be a huge success.


Australia end their year on a high note

With their comprehensive 54-run victory at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in the fifth T20I, Australian Women concluded one of their best years in history – winning 24 matches in the calendar year across all formats and losing just one. Meg Lanning’s team have won the Women’s Ashes, the World Cup in March and a Commonwealth Games Gold apart from series victories against India and Pakistan.

No team in Women’s cricket comes close to Australia’s level in any format, partly thanks to the huge success of the Women’s Big Bash League attracting talent from across the nation to the sport.

While the Men’s national team has been embroiled in one controversy after another over the past few years, the Women’s team has managed to make an emotional connection with Australians, especially with young girls who aspire to play for the nation one day.

Shafali Verma has expressed that playing Australian women feels like a fixture against men – a testament to the fitness regime and discipline that Australia have managed to imbibe into the sport.

While the domination of any one team is detrimental to the growth of the game as a whole, Australia’s players have so far succeeded in helping the sport’s cause with their unwavering focus on the field.


Steady rise of India

While India are certainly the dominant force in Men’s cricket, for years the Women’s team has struggled to break through in the background.

While the likes of Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami have been able to achieve national fame, the sport was considered a domain of men until a few years ago. But that outlook started to change with the steady success of India in international competitions.

In the past five years, the players have succeeded in making Women’s cricket mainstream by reaching the finals of the ODI World Cup in 2017 and the T20 World Cup in 2020, following it up with a Commonwealth Silver medal earlier this year.

 Every time, their nemesis was Australia. India have now firmly established themselves as the second-best team in Women’s cricket, surpassing Australia.

But the 4-1 defeat at the hands of Australia shows that the team still has issues to address. The lack of a bowling coach is hurting them on the field with the team failing to take the wickets of the tailenders throughout the recently concluded T20 series.

Fielding has also not been up to the mark, with the team’s fitness requiring an approach similar to what Virat Kohli implemented with the Men’s team.


Unprecedented viewership figures

The second T20I in Mumbai saw a record 1.1 million viewers tuning in to see the match live on Disney+ Hotstar, with a further 45,000 fans watching it live in the stadium.

The BCCI’s decision to make entry free to the stadium for all matches initially proved to be a grand success – so much so that even though the last three T20Is were ticketed, the crowds in the stadium did not reduce.

The viewership figures are a wake-up call for the management. For years, the BCCI has neglected Women’s cricket at the expense of Men’s cricket – with the Indian T20 League remaining the only major domestic league not to have its counterpart.

But that is likely to change soon given the willingness of fans to watch the sport. More importantly, the growth of the game will serve as an inspiration to millions of young women across the country.


Women’s Indian T20 league

The next big frontier for Women’s cricket will be the inaugural India T20 League set to be held in March 2023. While the Women’s Big Bash League has succeeded in already creating a market for talents from across the world, the sheer financial power of a domestic league in India will make the game grow exponentially in a short span.

The BCCI is reportedly considering hosting the entire tournament in and around Mumbai – which is likely to ensure a similar turnout to the recently concluded series.

Australian players are likely to fetch big sums just like in the Indian T20 League, and the league would offer a great advertisement for the sport across the world as a result of greater competition.




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