As a cricket lovers we are indulge only in men’s cricket and we applaud men’s cricket only. Many of us probably don’t know the fact that we also have women cricket team as well. We have a very good women’s cricket team and it has done reasonably well. They also play all the 3 formats of the game viz. Test Match, ODIs and T20.
The Indian women's cricket team first appeared in a Test match in 1976-77 season against West Indies, six match series ended in a draw. They also performed much better than expected in the Women's Cricket World Cup 2005, reaching the finals but then losing to Australia. In 2005 they won their second Women's Asia Cup, played in Pakistan. That tournament featured the first-ever match between the Indian and Pakistani women's teams as well. They toured England in 2006, winning the Test series 1-0, winning the Twenty20 international, but losing the ODI series 4-0.
Our Indian women cricket team captain is Jhulan Goswami who is an all-rounder. She made her debut in the year 2000. She won ICC women’s player of the year award in 2007. She became fourth bowler in women’s cricket to achieve the feat of 100 wickets in ODIs in 2008. Another cricketer named Mithali Raj, is a World Record holder in terms of highest individual score in test match innings. She scored 214 against England in 2002 at the tender age of 19 playing in his only 3rd test match. Mithali was involved in another world record partnership of 157 for the seventh wicket with Jhulan Goswami (62) in the same match.
Till 2007 women cricket was ran by separate body Women's Cricket Association of India (WCAI). But ICC took the initiative and asked the respective cricket boards to include the women’s cricket as well under their banner. This had immediate effect and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) took over the women’s cricket. Now BCCI runs both men and women cricket. The money situation was not that great till the women’s cricket was separate body. For long the players had to depend on their jobs mostly with Railways and Air India and survive on paltry daily allowances. Now situation has changed and women players are getting decent money although not as big as male players are getting.
Till 2007 women cricketers of the country could draw few pay-cheques. In All-India Women's Knock-Out Cricket Tournament organised by BCCI, all the players of the ten teams that had participated got their first dues.Thanks to the BCCI initiative, players who took part in that tournament got Rs 1500 per match. The amount looks insignificant when compared to what their male counterparts get when they play in a domestic tournament, a male domestic player gets Rs 4000 per day for a Ranji match which means that a Ranji player pockets a total of Rs 16,000 at the end of four days. Sounds a bit unfair, keeping in mind that the women also bowl 50 overs, the boundary line is the same, the umpires are also of the same standard as in the men's tournament. Everything seems to be the same but the money. This, though, hardly shakes the confidence of the women as they used to play even when they were not paid anything. Indian women cricket has also brought lot of glory to the country.
Anjum Chopra, the member of Indian women cricket team asked for the separate IPL like tournament for women as well and their demand is correct as well. If male cricketers can make big bucks out of IPL then female players also deserves big bucks. Although women cricket is under BCCI regime but it is not marketed well enough. Time has come to market the women cricket properly, so that many more girls take cricket seriously and this will also help in reducing inequalities between male and female, which unfortunately still prevails in our society. Its time to attract women towards cricket and tournament like IPL for women will do wonders in promoting women’s cricket. Women has achieved lot of glory in other sports like badminton, tennis, athletics and time has come now to support women cricket and make it as popular as women tennis and women badminton. Its strange that, in a cricket crazy nation like India, women’s cricket is still searching its soul and honour.