The Neglect that Stings

It's Sunday, September 12. The Indian team is in Australia & undergoing the mandatory quarantine before a start of a much-anticipated series vs the mighty Australian side. But if you go & have a look at the official social media handles of BCCI, you would see hardly a mention of the tour. In fact, at least on Twitter, it seems as if they are still stuck in the 5th of September as that was when they last posted something & no points for guessing what it was about, of course, a birthday wish. 

Contrast this with what Cricket Australia is doing as the series is approaching. They are counting down to the series with highlights of the previous duel with India. They are building up to the series as one would expect anyone who cares what the game would. Also, worth noting that due to current circumstances in Australia, the series was pushed forward by 2 days. This meant there was a change in the schedule which of course was updated by Cricket Australia on all the platforms. On the other hand, Let alone informing your fans about it, the BCCI handles didn't even retweet/repost the details shared by the Australian cricket board. While this neglect is largely disappointing but sadly it's hardly unexpected.

Women's game has always been neglected. Whatever this team has achieved is despite the system that hardly cares about it. It almost feels that everything about women's cricket is an afterthought for BCCI.  From pay being delayed to the lack of will to start a full-fledged IPL, It shows in every decision or should I say indecision of this board. They always have a mountain of excuses for everything but none of it can justify the way the game is being run at the moment. 

The biggest example of neglect has to be how the board failed to organise a single series for the Women in Blue for almost a year after the end of the T20 World Cup in March 2020. The hiatus was broken when South Africa came to tour India in March 2021. The board argues about the COVID situation but it hardly holds true when the Men's team had completed a full tour of Australia & had played against England at home in the same period. They could have tried & organised tours but sadly that didn't seem as their priority.

Whenever questioned on their lack of commitment towards growing the game, they throw in a Test match. While it's nice that women are getting to play the format considered to be the pinnacle of Cricket, the unavailability of a Four-day domestic tournament makes these look like more of a token gesture. If you seriously want to promote Test Cricket, it's impossible to do so without a proper domestic structure. 

It pains to see that adding a couple more teams to an already flourishing league is a priority than going ahead and starting a full-fledged IPL. A Women's IPL is a need of the hour. We have enough talent to start a tournament. If you have some doubts about that, you can easily have more foreign players for the initial few years & then, reduce them to 4 when you are satisfied with the talent pool. If there was a will to make it happen, surely one would have found ways to establish the tournament but sadly this establishment doesn't seem to have even an iota of intent or desire to do so. 

If things have to change in how women's cricket is governed here, the first thing to do is to have an independent director in charge of the women's game. That would ensure that there's an authority who would be responsible for the functioning of the women's game & growing the game. The said person would be able to focus on issues plaguing the game & address them more promptly. In the current system, there's hardly a designated point of contact for the women's team to raise their issues & concerns. An independent director would go a long way in filling this communication gap. Such an appointment would go a long way in taking Women's cricket in India to the next level.

Indian Team had reached the finals of the 2017 ODI World Cup, the semifinals of the 2018 T20 World Cup & the finals of the 2020 T20 World Cup. Any proactive board would have used these achievements to drive the game forward in their country. Alas, that wasn't to be. BCCI failed the game yet again. It's a well-known fact that to solve any issue the first step is to acknowledge that a problem exists. One does sincerely hope that BCCI wakes up from its slumber and realises the mistakes that they are making, which is holding the women's game back in our country. 

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Kartik O

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Kartik O

A Cricket fan who has some opinions. Can be found at @Kocricket528 on Twitter !!!