The growth of women’s cricket around the world

Women’s cricket is a game on the rise. Fuelled by a growing interest in women’s sports around the world, cricket has certainly benefitted from this increased interest.

Indian Cricket fans enjoying World Cup 2022. (Photo by Phil Walter-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)
Indian Cricket fans enjoying World Cup 2022. (Photo by Phil Walter-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

 

One of the biggest factors fuelling the growth in women’s cricket is the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. For those nations to have hosted the tournament, including New Zealand, Pakistan and India, women’s cricket has gone from strength to strength in those countries.

Today, we are seeing sell-out crowds around the world for women’s cricket matches. The Women’s World Cup held earlier in 2022 was a great example of the growth in interest in the women’s game. New Zealand hosted the latest edition of the Women’s World Cup, won by Australia and crowds flocked to stadiums throughout the country to watch teams from around the world compete.

The World Cup Final, held at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval, attracted a sell-out crowd, with many of the group games and knock-out matches attracting huge crowds. 

Women’s cricket was also played at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, held in Birmingham, England. The tournament attracted record crowds, surpassing the total number of people that watched the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020. Over 150,000 tickets were sold for the Women’s Cricket at the Commonwealth Games with Australia beating India in the final held at Edgbaston.

 

"If we can do well in the final, a lot of things can change for us," says Harmanpreet Kaur. PC: Getty Images
“If we can do well in the final, a lot of things can change for us,” says Harmanpreet Kaur. PC: Getty Images

 

The final of that T20 World Cup, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, attracted a world-record crowd of 86,174, showing how far the women’s cricket game has come. This was in large contrast to the 2009 ODI Final held at the North Sydney Oval between Australia and England which attracted a crowd of just 2,300.

In England, the women’s cricket game continues to grow. The Hundred tournament in which both men and women compete, attracted 271,000 people to watch the women’s matches in the tournament, another competition that is helping to grow the game.

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2023 will also see the Indian Premier League (IPL) launch a women’s league for the first time, with crowds expected to match those of the men’s IPL once it kicks off.

Whilst live audiences continue to grow, TV coverage of these major tournaments is also helping to grow interest in the game. The 2021 Australian Big Bash League Final attracted an audience of 531,000 people, with the majority of these viewers being males.

Controversy shows interest is growing

England recently played India in an ODI series, played on home soil. Whilst India was to win the series 3-0, there was a controversial moment in the third match when Indian bowler Deepti Sharma took the bails off at the bowler’s end as Charlie Dean set off in the hope of stealing a quick single.

In the past, this incident would have drawn little interest, however, with the growth in the women’s game, thousands of fans took to social media platforms to give their opinion on the incident.

The dismissal, known as a Mankad after the Indian international Vinoo Mankad who was the first player to run out the batsman at the non-striker’s end, divides opinion.

Whilst Mankadding is not against the rules of the sport, it is considered to be against the spirit of the game. There is an unspoken rule that the bowler should give the batsman or woman a warning before they attempt the runout. If the batter persists in aggressive backing up, then the bowler is well within their rights to run them out if they leave the crease early.

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In the history of the game, there have only been 11 instances of Mankadding across all forms of the game. Vinoo Mankad was the first person to attempt the run out in 1947 in a Test Match against Australia in Sydney. Since then, there have been just three further Mankadding incidents in Test Cricket. 

In men’s ODIs, there have been a further four Mankad incidents, the latest coming in 2014 when Jos Buttler of England was run out by Sachithra Senanayake of Sri Lanka.

In the women’s game, there have been just two instances. One in a T20 international between Cameroon and Uganda and the latest, the runout by Sharma on Dean in the ODI in 2022.

T20 Asia Cup

The T20 Asia Cup is the most recent tournament that is helping to grow the game. This is the eighth edition of the Asia Cup, being held in Bangladesh with all games being played in Sylhet.

The tournament is contested between Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Crowds for the tournament have been significant, despite hosts Bangladesh not making it through to the knock-out semi-final stage. Competing for the opportunity to take out the Asia Cup will be India, Thailand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

India is the favourite with Betway Sports to lift the 2022 T20 Women’s Asia Cup and they will face Thailand in the first of the semi-finals. Sri Lanka is the favourite to take out the second semi-final against Pakistan and all remaining fixtures are expected to draw big crowds, with Bangladesh fans enjoying the international cricketing spectacle.

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