The momentum that women’s cricket had garnered during the ICC Women’s World T20 held between February 21 and March 8 this year in Australia seems to have lost like a puff of dust.
The World Cup final that was played between defending champions Australia and first time World T20 finalists India on the eve of International Women’s Day at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground attracted a crowd of 86174, the highest ever in a World T20 final across both men’s cricket and women’s cricket, took the internet by storm. After the mega event, it was expected that women players will also enjoy similar popularity just like their male counterparts.
However, there was a twist in the fairy tale that was about to be scripted. Within a week after the World Cup, there was a massive outbreak of novel coronavirus across many countries, the origin of which was in China. It was labeled as a pandemic which meant that any kind of social gathering, be it for sports or entertainment would be affected.
The cricketing spirit was dampened across the world as many series were adversely impacted, such as South Africa’s Tour of India (men), New Zealand’s tour of Australia (men), Australia’s tour of South Africa (women), and ODI Quadrangular among Thailand, Ireland, Netherlands and Zimbabwe in Thailand (women), to name a few.
In addition to playing matches, the players are restricted from practicing outdoors. The grounds are no longer flooded with cricketers and there is a deafening silence in the atmosphere. Though it is a good cricket-playing season in most of the countries, due to the pandemic, it appears as if we are going through an offseason.
With no game time and practice session for at least more than a month in effect, it is likely that the women’s cricket is going to take a hit. Probably, what the players can do is make the most of their time at home by indulging in indoor training and practice. For instance, the batters can practice with hanging ball, while the bowlers can use a medicine ball, to hone their batting and bowling skills respectively. Apart from this, the girls can ensure their fitness levels remain optimum by exercising in-house using equipment like skipping rope and TheraBand, and the like.
There is seldom any doubt that cricket, in general, will be affected, and unlike men’s cricket which is already more popular than the women’s cricket, the latter is expected to take a bigger hit. When there were expectations that women’s cricket will see a new dawn, courtesy the ICC Women’s World T20 which grabbed many eyeballs, COVID-19 just played the spoilsport.
Hopefully, we are just a stone’s throw away from getting things back to normal. A month with no sporting action is nothing less than a nightmare not only for the players but also for the sports enthusiasts who crave to see their favorites take the ground and perform.