The much-awaited competition of the year which is “The Hundred” will finally kick start on July 21 with a women’s game being played at Kennington Oval, London. Sky Sports will broadcast all 34 women’s matches for free on its YouTube channel with extensive coverage also on the BBC.
Ahead of the tournament, there was an event “The Hundred: A Catalyst for Gender Parity in Sport”. The event marked two weeks to the start of the innovative new 100-ball competition, which will see men’s and women’s matches played back-to-back on one ticket, the historic standalone opening fixture featuring the two women’s sides being an anomaly. The event saw a few of the English domestic women cricketers take part as the panel members. Georgia Adams, who will play for the franchise Oval Invincibles was a part of that event.
Talking about cricket, especially women’s cricket, Adams said, “It certainly wasn’t a case of being unfamiliar with the sport, or a bat-wielding black sheep in a family of footballers. In 2004, my dad, Sussex captain Chris Adams, was named one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year. However, there was a lack of visibility for the women’s game, which meant that the girls even with the privilege of pedigree were left in the dark. I feel this will change dramatically under the spotlight of The Hundred, which will become the first major UK team sport competition to launch with a women’s fixture.”
The 27-year old added, “It was [incoming MCC president] Clare Connor, the Sussex women’s captain at the time, who said to my dad, ‘Why haven’t you sent your daughter to women’s trials?’ He was just as naïve as me, really, like ‘I don’t know what the avenues are. How do we send her?’ I think that’s why competitions like The Hundred are so instrumental in creating female role models and getting the game out there, getting it seen by people, it’s going to be a spectacle. Hopefully, it’s going to [help] girls specifically realize that you can go and make a career out of playing cricket now.”
There is a lot of cricket being watched by the young kids. She said: “I’m still amazed at how much cricket boys watch compared to the girls. The girls want to watch it [but] it’s a case of they don’t want to watch it unless it’s the girls playing. [And] the little boys come up to me and they’re like ‘Georgia, Georgia we’re supporting Oval Invincibles because you’re playing for them.’”
In a historic turn of things, The Hundred will be the first competition in cricket to offer equal prize money to the winners of men’s and women’s competitions. They will also get the same training facilities, transport, and hotels.
“It’s a massive thing. Traditionally women’s teams haven’t always had the same opportunities as the men. We’re on the same platform [in The Hundred] — one club, two teams are very much the mantra going about, and that’s so exciting for us as female players, learning off the men’s players and maybe they can learn something off us. I think it’s a first in sport, certainly in cricket. The fact that The Hundred exists means so much to us as female players. It really makes us feel like there’s an investment being made in us, and we can go out there, perform, enjoy it and have fun,” said 19-year-old Birmingham Phoenix bowler Issy Wong.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.