Women’s cricket in India is going through a complete transformation. For all the good reasons. There have been recognition and appreciation with monetary rewards for the Mithali Raj-led girls for their exceptional performance on way to the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. There are annual contracts and retainership.
And now, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is working on a future tours programme for the women cricketers. The BCCI General Manager Ratnakar Shetty has revealed.
“We are now planning to have an FTP at the international level like the men’s team for ODIs and T20s and that is working out well,” PTI has reported Shetty as saying at the Sports Journalists’ Federation of India conclave in Thiruvananthapuram. “Don’t go by the quantity of matches but go by the fact that we will be playing better teams in the next two years and our girls will get a chance to compete at that level.
“Women’s cricket came under BCCI in 2006 and the last 11 years has seen a lot of progress in terms of facilities that are available for girls, even at the state level and the BCCI level.”
Shetty also made it clear the focus will be on the shorter formats, and not Test cricket. India last played a women’s Test in 2014, against South Africa.
“There is a common question that there are not enough matches for women. What is important to understand is that, and this was at the ICC forum I attended, countries like England and Australia are not keen on Test matches,” he said. “Every country and ICC are first interested in creating a base for women’s cricket for promotion of the game in all the nations which play cricket. Therefore the focus is only on limited overs cricket, the ODIs and T20s.
“In the ODI World Cup in England recently, the girls played some outstanding cricket and suddenly there was a lot of enthusiasm among the journalist fraternity which was not seen earlier. And because of the matches being shown on television, girls like Mithali (Raj) became a household name, and someone like Harmanpreet (Kaur) is equivalent to a men’s cricketer and that gives us great joy.”
Shetty, who has taken up the additional responsibility of in-charge of the women’s game, said the structure of the game in India has been altered. The board has included a new tournament in the Under-16 category for the upcoming season.
“We have restructured the women’s cricket at the junior level and we will have an U-16 tournament at the zonal level because I can tell you from my experience that it is not easy to get 15 players in every State association,” he said. “So this year we will have zonal tournament for U-16. We already have a U-19 tournament and we have U-23 where they play One-day games and this year onwards they will play T-20.
“We have a senior women’s tournament where we have one-day games, three-day games and T20-s. The U-19 girls also play two-day games, so this is the structure we have decided for women’s cricket under BCCI.”
The BCCI recently has also helped some of the former women cricketers with one-time monetary benefits.