I think we all can come to a consensus that despite male and female cricketers having fairly identical goals and dreams, their pathways differ massively. While both have their unique opportunities and obstacles, most women lack something that men are inherently born with-freedom. Regardless of this and other odds, the most prestigious cricket tournament, The World Cup was inaugurated by women!
In July 1971, during a match between England XI and Young England XI, it was a spectator – Jack Hayward who introduced this idea. Sir Jack Arnold Hayward (14 June 1923 – 13 January 2015) was a wealthy and reputed English businessman, property developer, philanthropist, and also an investor in football clubs. It was while watching this match that he expressed his interest in financially contributing to women’s cricket and proposed the idea of a women’s world cup to the Women’s Cricket Association. 2 years post this, this feat was finally achieved and the first-ever cricket world cup was finally played.
The 1973 edition was played between 7 teams- England, Young England, Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago, and an International XI.
South Africa was also on the radar but due to its virtual war with the rest of the world owing to its apartheid laws, it was sacked to protect the commencement of the WC. Nevertheless, to make up for this loss, 5 South African players were invited to be a part of the International XI. However, the WCA later canceled this too due to the same fear of cancellation.
Finally, on 14th June 1973, the 7 teams walked out in their colorful kits with smiles brighter than the sun and gazed at the astonishing one-of-a-kind silver trophy that Hayward stood next to. This was the start of a legacy that is still proudly being carried on. The first edition was won by England who defeated Australia on 28th July at Edgbaston that continues to host nail-biting matches.
The WC went on to take place every 6 years however, since 2005, they have been played at regular 4-year intervals. The regular portrayal of women’s cricket made viewers realize that it is worth backing and inspired countless young girls to take up cricket as a profession.
In fact, it was during the 1997 WC, that Australia’s Belinda Clark smashed a scintillating 229* off just 155 balls against Denmark’s best bowlers. This was the first-ever double century to be recorded in cricket history, the second one being recorded by Sachin Tendulkar, 13 years later.
Summing up, England went on to win 5 titles in their 11 appearances while the Aussies, despite losing their first, are currently the most successful team with 6 titles to their name. The only others that managed to win are the Kiwis, back in 2000/01. In conclusion, whether it’s the filmy commencement, the continuous record-breaking, or the eventful circumstances, the WWC has proved its worth and is known to bring the best out of the players and countries and hopefully, will continue to do so.
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