The ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup is finally here with the group-stage matches all set to get underway on 14th January, the day has finally arrived after much wait! Stalwarts across the men’s and the women’s game have been echoing sentiments of how this is such a wonderful tournament for the young girls and the exposure it would provide them. Joining the bandwagon have been Mithali Raj and Sachin Tendulkar.
Mithali Raj, an Indian legend first, and an ICC ambassador later was generous enough to visit the India U19 team ahead of their first match versus South Africa and shared her insights and experiences. She gave a pep talk to boost the confidence and morale of the girls which was much appreciated by the squad. The BCCI Women’s Twitter handle was the first to post the images of Mithali Raj’s talk and titled it ‘Words of Wisdom’ and the caption said, “Look, who is here!
Ahead of the inaugural #U19T20WorldCup match against South Africa tomorrow, the legendary @M_Raj03 spends time and interacts with the team. #TeamIndia”. When a legend like Mithali Raj shares her thoughts and observations, it will certainly aim to benefit the girls and for many who grew up admiring her as a role model, this was an ideal scenario to listen to her up close and personal. The Indian team would need a boost as they won their first warm-up rather convincingly in a low-scoring thriller however they were in for an upset versus Bangladesh where they were handed a defeat by three runs. Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh too, who have rubbed shoulders with Mithali Raj in the senior team were bursting with joy at this and shared the same on social media which goes to show how revered and respected the star Indian batter is.
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) February 9, 2020
In a similar vein sharing his thoughts was star batter and icon of men’s cricket, Sachin Tendulkar who opined that this World Cup has the potential to ‘transform the landscape of women’s cricket in India’ and believes the tournament will have a massive impact on the present and future of women’s cricket at large. He spoke about how 2023 is a crucial year for women’s cricket and fans will be looking forward to the U19 World Cup first and the senior Women’s T20 World Cup later.
He also added, “While the Women’s T20 World Cup has been played for several years now, the Under-19 event is a first-time event and one that holds a lot of promise. I think this can transform the landscape since a global platform will ensure great learning and experience for young women cricketers. Though women’s cricket has made huge strides, there are areas still to be tapped. What is required right now is a more robust grassroots system across the world. The larger we spread the base, the more talent we will unearth and that will have a direct bearing on the quality of the game”, he said in his regular column for the ICC. He also believes that this tournament and subsequent editions will help unearth newer talents and compare it to the likes of the men’s U19 World Cup providing a springboard for many aspiring young cricketers who want to make it big.
I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.