The next wave is here, with women playing a greater share of the game.
It is not only cricket’s men’s side that is making a push for greater visibility in the sport.
When India became the first country to grant female players a spot on its team, the Indian women’s team was the first one to be taken seriously.
“There was a perception that the women had no place in cricket,” said a senior Indian captain, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
“We were a lot more scared of being beaten than we were of being accepted by the national team.”
But now, in the first phase of a national tour that includes matches against Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand, the team is set to have its first female captain in three years.
The first Indian woman to captain a cricket team, she is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and believes that the team’s future lies in the women.
“India has a long way to go,” she said.
“We have a long road to go before we get the same respect as men do.”
“We are on a different journey, in a very different era,” she added.
While the Indian team is expected to perform well in the tour, the coach is adamant that it will not be the final destination.
“It will be very important that the squad is at the forefront of the culture of the team, and the captain is there to make sure that this culture and that culture is not going to change,” she explained.
India is the second-most populated country in the world, and its top-level cricket is seen as a symbol of the country’s success.
The team has played at the World T20 in a bid to attract sponsors, and is hoping to make the tournament one of the most watched events in the country.
For many women, the decision to join the team has been a long time coming.
“It is a very difficult decision to make but I believe that the most important thing is to take the time to think about it,” said the captain, a senior player who wishes to remain unnamed.
In a country where more than 70 per cent of women do not complete high school, and where girls do not often play for a national team, it was a matter of survival for the women to take up the captaincy role.
It is the first time a women has ever taken the reins at a national level, and has been an extraordinary achievement for the team.
There is a growing sense that the national women’s league, the T20I, could benefit from the captain’s role, and it has been actively seeking ways to promote women’s involvement.
Earlier this year, the league announced a plan to make T20 internationals more inclusive and to give women more roles in the development of the women team.
The league has also made it clear that it wants to promote more women and is open to the possibility of a women’s T20 squad in future.
But the women are not alone.
The BCCI’s women’s board is working on a similar project to encourage more female participation in T20 cricket.
Even with the team gaining the title of the best team in the World Cup, there is still a long ways to go for the sport to be recognised by a broader audience.
If the Indian Women’s team can successfully break into the elite tier of the international side, then the country will be well on its way to reaching the pinnacle of cricketing achievement.
Source: The Sport Biblical