Wednesday, October 28, 2020

How the T20 World Cup finals marked a new era for women’s cricket

< 1 minute read

Pic credit: BBC

The 2007 ICC World T20 heralded a new beginning for international cricket, ushering in an era of franchise-based leagues and sparking the biggest revolution to the game since World Series Cricket in the 1970s. In many ways, the recently concluded 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup promises to have an equally big impact on the women’s game. As broadcasters, sponsors and fans start to appreciate its value from both a commercial and entertainment perspective, the common thread underlying these watershed moments is an Indian team that captured the imagination of its adoring fanbase.

Australia may have lifted their record fifth T20 World Cup crown, thrashing a despondent India in a one-sided final, but if anyone was happier than the formidable home favourites, it was the ICC organising committee, who could not have scripted a more perfect outcome if they tried.

- Advertisement -

It is no secret that India and Australia playing a World Cup final on Australian soil is the stuff of dreams for organisers, broadcasters and sponsors, let alone the fans themselves. To have the colour, fervour and pure fanaticism of Indian fans, while seeing the home team ultimately lift the trophy in front of tens of thousands of jubilant fans, is a guaranteed money-spinner.

In this sense too, there were parallels with the 2007 World T20, where India eclipsed a resurgent Pakistan in another hugely anticipated final. When MS Dhoni led his unfancied side to that title, the T20 format was still seen as a bit of a “hit-and-giggle”. But once the BCCI realised the potential in the format – spurred by India’s success – it took less than a year to launch the IPL, which has been nothing short of staggering in its success.

Similarly, like T20 cricket itself, women’s cricket has in many corners been viewed as somewhat of a novelty. It formed its own niche often only as an accompaniment to the men’s game, with women’s matches broadcast on subsidiary channels with second-rate production standards, often played as curtain raisers to a men’s match.

Some of those elements will remain for the medium-term. Sports entertainment is a highly saturated market, and athletes today already play more days of competitive professional sport than ever before. There is only so much room in the calendar, only so many venues, and only so many broadcasting resources available for another market entrant.

But we can certainly expect two things in the fall-out from the tournament. First, the creation of more stand-alone franchise-based women’s cricket leagues, which will provide a much-needed influx of private funds into the game. It will build greater depth, encourage new talent and attract new sponsors. Though there are some of these already – of which the WBBL is one – none could ever match up to the riches of a women’s IPL, which the BCCI is no doubt seriously considering.

Secondly, it’s likely that boards such as the BCCI will start pouring money into the development of women’s cricket, particularly at the national level. As an organisation now accustomed to seeing its men’s team atop the world rankings, the BCCI will no doubt seek similar success for its women’s teams, particularly with Sourav Ganguly at the helm. This will mean more girls’ academies;more highly trained coaching staff; greater emphasis on strength, fitness and conditioning, and more talent scouting.

In that sense, it may not actually matter that India did not lift the title. In fact, the BCCI may be even more motivated to improve Indian women’s cricket given the clear gap in talent, ability and fitness between the two sides in the final.

Those criticising the Indian team would do well to remember how many years it took the men’s side to become a formidable force in international cricket. Although it is perhaps not the fairest of comparisons, the fact remains that women’s cricket in India is still in a development phase, especially next to the relatively robust domestic and international structures in place in Australia and England. Despite this, the team has performed admirably, including two wins over Australia in this tour alone.

It is self-evident that the women’s game is more professional, dynamic and entertaining than it has ever been. There’s a reason that more than 87,000 fans voted with their feet and came up just short of the world record for the highest ever attendance at a women’s sporting event.

Fans will continue flocking to the game if organisers keep backing it; and the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup may well become the blueprint for success.

READ ALSO: Who you need to know this World Cup

Avatar
Ritam Mitra
Ritam recently discovered that after years of repeatedly losing his off stump, it's more advisable for him to write about cricket than to play it. Ritam was the 2014 Young Journalist of the Year (Premier's Multicultural Media Awards)

Related Articles

Melbourne unlocked: What’s the post-restrictions plan?

Some excitement about "overpriced gourmet coffee" with some caution about socialising and hygiene - here's how Melbournians are accepting the easing of Melbourne's restrictions...

Top Ten: Festivals Of Light

The human race has always held a mystical fascination for light, writes FARZANA AHMAD

Indian women diagnosed with breast cancer at younger age

In a major US study, researchers have found that Indian and Pakistani women are diagnosed with breast cancer, including more aggressive forms...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Episode Seven: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Episode Six: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

0
It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Episode Five: Oz media fails diversity test again

0
As per a report that was published last week, Australian media seems to have again failed to represent the country’s diversity accurately onscreen. The...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

women of sister project in perth

Sister Project, empowering women of diverse backgrounds

0
Ellenbrook local Tracey Cave had always wanted to do something community-oriented. But it wasn’t until she saw a fellow Mum, who was a migrant...
melbourne city

Melbourne unlocked: What’s the post-restrictions plan?

0
Some excitement about "overpriced gourmet coffee" with some caution about socialising and hygiene - here's how Melbournians are accepting the easing of Melbourne's restrictions...

Steve Waugh’s India: where cricket gives hope and happiness

0
"I always wanted to get into the alleyways, the backstreets, in the mountains, in the desert, the beaches; just see people playing cricket and...
India Tour of Australia dates

Fixtures for India’s tour of Australia released

0
The upcoming months promise an exciting season for cricket with three series – the Vodafone Test series, Dettol ODI series, and Dettol Twenty20 International...
covid stats on phone

How do we know statistics can be trusted? We talked to...

0
  In April, as the coronavirus pandemic was gathering force around the world, reporters asked Brendan Murphy, then Australia’s...