Cricket has reached new venues in the recent past. It has reached new hearts and the game has gone to countries where the presence was not felt in earlier times. Women’s cricket is getting the momentum and is ready to catch up with their male counterparts. There are players who have made their places in the heart of fans. To get an emotional connection with the fans, a personal touch is essential.
Lockdown has unknowingly given the time to cricketers to interact with their fans. Indian stars are on YouTube and Live on Instagram very often. A broader and comprehensive initiative is taken by the European branch of ICC. The English side met with their German counterparts. English skipper Heather Knight and the star of 2017 Women’s World cup final Anya Shrubshole shared insights and conversations that went for twice the duration as planned originally.
The German side has featured in qualifiers for the T20 World Cup and got their first victory against Oman via a comprehensive clean sweep. They are currently ranked 27th in the format while the English side ranks second. Though these teams have a lesser chance of competing in the near future, their interaction will surely be revisited whenever they meet each other. The interaction ranged from serious questions on technique to light queries about who is most likely to throw a tantrum.
Importantly, Heather Knight and Shrubshole admitted to knowing very little about the German women’s cricket. There isn’t a central contract for players like one given by ECB, nor there are state-of-the-art training programs. Players train only on a weekend in a month. Most of the players are either students or professionals. However, the growth of cricket has been unprecedented in the region with the number of female cricket teams going up to 42 from 19.
Interestingly, nearly 10,000 women took part in some form of cricket last year. The German side has a lot of cricketing relations with England. The head Michael Thewlis is an Englishman from Ashington and often calls upon his alibis in club cricket to source placements for his players.
The skipper Anuradha Doddaballapur has spent three years of her student life in New Castle university. She joined South Northumberland Cricket Club and made the county squad. On this interaction, she says that “As a team, we’ve never had an opportunity like this before. To be able to talk to some top international players about the game. It’s different from reading an interview or watching something. That personal interaction really matters.”
Tonight, our team had the pleasure of a video call with @Heatherknight55 and @Anya_shrubsole . Fantastic session with loads of questions asked and answered, thank you very much!#riseupandflyhigh #womenscricketgoingstrong@Cricket_Germany @icc_europe @ECB_cricket pic.twitter.com/HwTgWa00y8
— German Women’s Cricket (@GoldenEagles_DE) May 27, 2020
She adds that “Even though a lot of us are the same age or older than Heather and Anya, they’re still role models. We were chatting about how we might be able to get them over to Germany to do a training session or something when this is all over. This was a great way to get the ball rolling.”
Heather Knight emphasized that women should grow collectively and said, “It’s really important as players that we don’t just pull up the ladder behind us. There are so many people in the game who can benefit from talking and learning from each other.” A session like these, though virtual, has been encouraging and inspiring for newer teams. White Ferns have had sessions with the Thai squad and its wonderful to see bigger names talking to the aspiring stars.
News Source: Vithushan Ehantharajah for The Independent