Women’s cricket

As regular readers know, I was a huge cricket fan in my youth, losing touch with the game after I came to the US. But with the advent of the internet, I have rekindled my interest and started following it again. One of the big surprises for me was to discover that women’s cricket is now being played at the international level. Back when I was a boy, girls did not play at all at any level, not being included even when boys formed pick up games.

So earlier this year when I watched the women’s World Cup and saw the contest between Sri Lanka and England, the level at which women played the game surprised me. Here are the highlights.

You could not tell from the way they played that these were women and not men. It is clear though that they still do not get as much support as the men’s game (look at the empty stands, which would have been packed for the men’s World Cup) and apparently women’s cricket does not have the extensive farm system that boys have, of school and club teams and leagues where prodigies can be identified early and coached to excel.

Cricket is largely a sport of skill where physical height and strength, though helpful for a few like fast bowlers, are not that essential to success. I think it will not be long before a woman will, largely because of her talent and own efforts, become as good or better than any of the men for that position. I think that having separate leagues is a good way to increase the access of women to high levels of the game but when it comes to selecting the best international teams, I hope that the ruling cricket bodies will be enlightened enough to not make them purely on the basis of gender.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    I grew up with cricket, but I’m no fan of any sport that can be rained out, or have hyphenated methods of calculating target scores.

    But I have watched the last two women’s soccer world cups, and found them far more interesting, from a pure football point of view, than the men’s competition. Cynicism and gamesmanship wear on one’s patience, and they don’t seem to have infected the women’s game as much as the men’s.

  2. 2up2down2furious says

    Like most people in the US that have never been abroad, I’ve never seen a game of cricket, but every since reading CLR James’ excellent Beyond a Boundary I’ve been somewhat fascinated with the social aspects of the sport.

  3. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    England and Australia have been playing women’s test matches for may years. Rachael Heyhoe Flint, the England captain, used to comment as a guest in Test Match special on TV
    Sarah Taylor, the England wicket keeper, trains with the male Sussex county second XI and is considered for matches with them.

  4. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Ashis Nandy’s The Tao of Cricket looks at the game in an Indian context.

  5. AsqJames says

    Tennis, and to a lesser extent athletics, are probably the only major sports where women enjoy anything approaching parity in terms of coverage and financial rewards. Both still have their problems with sexism with competitors being judged at least partly on their looks, but societal attitudes continue to progress and hopefully that will level off too in future. For example, I think the remarks John Inverdale made about Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon this year would not have generated such a fuss even 5 or 10 years ago, what will the culture be like in another 5 or 10 years?

    Earlier this year a documentary film about the the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was released called Battle of the Sexes. Here, BJK is interviewed at the Edinburgh IFF about the film and the social and political context of the match.

    Re-listening it struck me that had Billie Jean King been male she would probably be hailed as a “Renaissance Man” – the #1 athlete in her sport, a businesswoman/sports administrator who was instrumental in building the women’s professional game from scratch, and an eloquent speaker and campaigner on equality and social justice. She’s clearly highly intelligent, dedicated and successful in many fields. Just one more of those moments when you remember yet again that society treats women differently to men.

    Worth a listen anyway.

  6. MNb says


    If the Dutch Cricket Federation is as sensible as the Royal Dutch Football Association (the worldwide version, not the American one) the Oranje cricket team might stand a chance in the future against the big ones.
    This club already has mixed youth teams:


    “een gemengde groep van jongens en meisjes in de leeftijd tot 12 jaar”
    Alas only until 12. I haven’t found examples with older ages mixed.
    MS, you will like this. Cricket contributes to peace in the Middle East.

    “Eerst werd gespeeld in teams van jongens tegenover meisjes; later gemengd, en nog later in gemengde teams van Joodse en Arabische kinderen. ”
    “First they played in teams of boys against girls; later mixed and still later with mixed teams of Jewish and Arabian childred.”
    Cricket is better than religion.

  7. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Tennis, and to a lesser extent athletics, are probably the only major sports where women enjoy anything approaching parity in terms of coverage and financial rewards.

    The amateur cyclist Beryl Burton was- is?- unique in that her women’s record for a 12-hour time trial was higher than the men’s record.


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