Can Indian women’s cricket close the gap with the men’s game?

To say that cricket is a popular sport in India is an understatement of huge proportions. Big domestic tournaments, such as the Ranji Trophy and Indian Premier League, attract massive crowds, while the international game is also something that many Indians like to watch. India is home to some of the finest grounds in cricket, from Eden Gardens in Kolkata to Raipur International Stadium in Raipur. Of course, this passion for cricket has seen some amazing players produced, from Sachin Tendulkar to Mithali Raj.

The game of cricket is something that is held dear by most Indians, and is often religiously followed. Many also like to bet on the outcome of games, to make extra money from the sport. If you have a deep knowledge of the game to use when betting, it might even be something you could consider. Just make sure to select a reliable online sportsbook when choosing where to bet on cricket in India.

In the past, cricket played by females in India has often struggled to be taken seriously next to the men’s game. Thankfully, these outdated attitudes have begun to change in recent years and we have seen female cricket in India get the respect it deserves. But will the women’s game ever truly close the gap with the men’s?

 

Scott Styris lauds Smriti Mandhana, calls her Virat Kohli of women's cricket. | Photo Credit: AP
Scott Styris lauds Smriti Mandhana, calls her Virat Kohli of women’s cricket. | Photo Credit: AP

 

Continued international success will help

While a thriving women’s domestic game in India is useful, continued success on the international stage could be key to bridging the gap. The last 10 or 20 years have seen the international women’s side really do well, with two World Cup Final appearances against Australia in 2005 and then England in 2017. Added to this, they have also achieved other goals, such as making the final of the World T20 competition in 2020. If the international women’s side can keep performing to this level and start to pick up trophies, it could help them catch up with the men.

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Emergence of star names

Another thing that could help women close the gap with men’s cricket lies around more star names emerging in the future. Look at how top players such as Tendulkar or Kapil Dev brought so much respect, attention, and admiration to the men’s game when playing. If the women’s game can get more global icons of this stature playing and being prominent as a worldwide brand, it will boost female cricket in India so much. This extra boost could be just what is needed to put it on a par with men’s cricket and ensure that equality is finally seen in how each is viewed. If more big names like Mithali Raj and Harmenpreet Kaur can come forward, it would really help a lot.

 

Women's IPL Teams
Women’s IPL Teams. Pic Credits: IPL

 

More initiatives and support to help women’s game

There is no doubt that women’s cricket both in India and around the world has recently seen a dramatic rise in popularity. A key part of this lies in initiatives from the game’s official bodies and central governments to help encourage more women to play the sport. More ideas, such as the ICC’s 100% Cricket scheme to get 1 million more girls playing cricket, are needed to help fuel further progress. This is certainly the case within India itself, where more support and funding from the government could really play a big role in giving the women’s game the impetus to get even bigger.

More media coverage is important

One of the real issues for women’s cricket within India, compared to the men’s game, is how much less media exposure it gets. This prevents people from hearing about what is going on, knowing when games are happening or enjoying seeing extensive women’s cricket highlights on the TV. A key part of closing the gap will be getting more women’s cricket on TV and into the media in general. As more online news sites and more newspapers offline begin to report on female cricket in India, so will more fans be attracted to the game. As the recent record attendances at the 2020 T20 World Cup showed, there is a big audience out there for the media to cater to.

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Sunil Gavaskar urges BCCI to start Women's IPL
Sunil Gavaskar urges BCCI to start Women’s IPL

 

The gap can be closed

When you look at where women’s cricket in India is now, compared to where it was 30 years ago, it is clear how far the game has come. As the appetite for gender equality, in general, gets even stronger over the coming years, this will certainly have an ongoing effect. The gap between the men and women in Indian cricket is closing all the time and soon it will not be there at all.

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