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.