Former England cricketer Lydia Greenway, with 225 International caps across formats has recently launched ‘The Female Cricket Store’ which promises to be your one-stop-shop for all your cricketing needs. Launched on 1st June 2020, the store offers a wide range of products manufactured exclusively for female cricketers and keeping their needs in mind. Having played international cricket for more than a decade, Lydia clearly understands the pain-points and the reforms that need to be brought at the grassroots to nurture the young talents. Not having access to proper cricketing gears for females was one such challenge.
We at Female Cricket caught up for a quick chat with Lydia Greenway to learn more about her project and the future plans.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. Female Cricket Store is an out of the box concept. Can you tell us what went behind creating this brand?
It’s something that has been in the pipeline for a while. I’ve worked closely with clubs and schools throughout the UK for a while now with the work I do with Cricket for Girls, and over time it became clear that there are still big challenges and barriers when it comes to equipment and clothing for females. Ultimately, they are the types of barriers that can be the difference between playing or not playing cricket.
In the past, it has widely been accepted that having a bat that is too heavy or wearing pads that are too big is ‘just the way it is’ for female cricketers but we are here to say that it shouldn’t be this way. Everything we offer has been made, tailored, and hand-picked to suit the needs of female cricketers and those involved in the women and girls game.
2. As a player what were the difficulties that you faced while searching for cricket equipment?
Certainly, bats were too heavy, especially when I was younger. It’s something that I never thought about and I just got on with it because I didn’t know any better! It’s often the small things that make a big difference and I certainly believe that is the case with the equipment we offer.
3. Though there is a marginal difference between the weights of cricket balls used in men’s and women’s cricket, how does it have an impact on female cricketers who practice using men’s cricket ball?
Definitely. When a bowler is bowling with a women’s ball and then goes on to bowl with a men’s ball it causes problems with bowlers controlling their length. If the bowler lets go of the ball at the same release point for both and men’s and women’s ball then it has a huge impact. It’s the same for throwing the ball – the release point has to be different for the two balls and when you’re trying to teach youngsters to have sound and repetitive techniques then using different sized and weighted ball can be very disruptive.
4. By the law of nature, men tend to be physically stronger than women which helps them to hit the ball long and hard thus making their cricket more exciting. Do you plan to introduce any different kinds of bat for women cricketers which could give an impetus to their game?
I would (respectfully!) argue that the women’s game is just as exciting as the men’s! They are two different games which appeal to a number of different people which we saw at the recent T20 World Cup final. When it comes to equipment and specifically cricket bats, we offer a range of bats that have been made for females. They are lighter and often have thinner and shorter handles, this has a positive impact on performance because it provides the players with more control over their shots and generates quicker hand speed which can help create more power.
5. Girls often have to play in a kit designed for boys, for instance, pads that are too wide, with straps that are too long and with bats that are too big. How does the Female Cricket Store come to their rescue?
These problems are certainly there and I’d like to think that The Female Cricket Store addresses all of these. Our pads are more lightweight and have shorter straps to avoid the overhanging which often occurs with men’s pads. This is similar to the gloves and we offer gloves that are more slim fit to ensure the players have more control over their shots – the wrist straps are also a better fit. The biggest size bat we have is the short handle and throughout the ranges, they are lighter weight to allow players to generate quicker hand speed and therefore more power.
6. Your online store was launched on June 1. How has the response been so far?
Fantastic! We have been overwhelmed by the response so far, it has confirmed to us that it is something very much needed. We have had orders from a whole host of people, parents shopping for their daughters, female players new to the game, and schools who are developing their girls’ cricket programme. We are hugely excited for what the future holds and how much we are going to be able to support people involved in the women’s and girls’ games.
7. Currently, you offer goods of three brands, namely, Kookaburra, SM Cricket, and Viking Cricket. Do you plan to get more brands in your store?
Definitely, we are already in talks with some really exciting brands to ensure we are offering the broadest range of equipment as possible. We want to be the go-to store for anyone involved in the women and girls game.
8. Are you manufacturing these stuff yourself or reselling the existing brands?
A bit of both – we are working with exciting brands to create products specifically for females. With our expertise about the female game and their knowledge in product development, we will be adding some really exciting and much-needed items.
9. Do you plan to launch customized equipment?
Possibly at some point. We are conscious that the demand needs meeting now which is why we have launched but I am sure at some point we will look at our own product development.
10. Considering that India is a huge market for cricket, do you intend to expand your presence there?
We would love to and we do currently take orders from overseas through our email address email@example.com We’ve seen firsthand how much of love and passion there is for the women and girls game in India and we would certainly welcome partnerships to help us develop and expand what we are doing to India.
— The Female Cricket Store (@FemaleCktStore) July 3, 2020
11. With the rising number of female umpires, will Female Cricket Store cater to that target group in the future, with respect to the accessories/equipment needed by them?
This is a great question and it’s not something that has been on our radar until now. We would certainly be open to ideas as to which items would need to be developed specifically for female umpires – we want to ensure everyone, including officials, are being offered what they need. We are aware of the rising numbers of females now officiating the game which is hugely exciting!
12. What would be your advice to the women cricketers that will help them make better cricket equipment buying decisions?
1. Buy as light a bat as possible – players having bats that are too heavy for them is one of the most common mistakes we see.
2. Have a look at our bat buying guide to understand all the factors that need to be considered.
3. Consider the level of cricket you are playing and how often you will be playing – if you are a casual player then don’t overspend – unless you want to of course, likewise, if you are playing to a good standard it is important you have good quality equipment.
4. Make sure you wear the equipment correctly to maximize your performance. We have teamed up with Cricket for Girls to provide our customers with access to the Cricket for Girls YouTube channel which has helpful tips about wearing the equipment as well as training tips and drills.
THE SM HK149 RANGE: Handmade English willow cricket bats, pads, gloves and a duffle bag. All made specifically for female cricketers and available in various sizes. https://t.co/UAApyw2qPE pic.twitter.com/OWipQTssWY
— The Female Cricket Store (@FemaleCktStore) July 2, 2020
13. At present, Is it only available online? Is there a way to distribute the products via offline/brick and mortar models?
At the moment we are just online – our customers have been placing orders from far and wide and the model has been working well to date. I would like to get to the stage where we can show the products at high profile women’s cricket events – this will give people an opportunity to see and feel the equipment for themselves.
14. Any future products lined up for the fans and followers?
Quite a few! Definitely clothing. We recently ran a poll on social media and the results were overwhelmingly in favor of cricket whites as well as colored clothing for teams. This is something we are in the process of developing for individuals, schools, and clubs. We always want to offer our customers the best and most appropriate products and clothing is definitely a big one moving forwards.
We have got a few other products in the pipeline but unfortunately can’t reveal those yet!!