During their forthcoming home tours to Australia and England, the Indian women’s team will play 14 matches in two different formats.
On November 1, 2023, The Field’s newsletter Game Points published the first version of this article. To receive the newsletter sent straight to your inbox each week, sign up here.
Beginning in December, the Indian women’s cricket team will have an exciting home season. The heavyweights England and Australia will visit to play six Twenty20 Internationals, three One-Day Internationals, and two Test matches.
However, the action will only take place in two locations that are less than 40 kilometers apart. I call that a dampener.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced last week that India will play England in three T20 Internationals at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium and a four-day Test match at Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium. Australia’s tour will start with a Test match at the Wankhede, then move on to the DY Patil Stadium for six white-ball matches, consisting of three ODIs and three T20Is.
The A tours will also resume this season, with India A hosting England A for three T20 matches at Wankhede Stadium.
The BCCI’s determination to maintain Mumbai and Navi Mumbai as the official locations for women’s cricket matches is unclear. Additionally, the Australian women’s team visited India and the bilateral series was confined to the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai and the DY Patil Stadium as the venues. These two stadiums served as the only venues for the Women’s Premier League’s inaugural season.
Travel time and expenses are reduced by limiting 14 games to two locations. It also implies that following each game, players are not obliged to adjust to new circumstances.
However, some could contend that’s precisely what makes cricket worthwhile. At the very least, those grievances would not apply to the Indian women’s cricket team, who do not travel as frequently as the men’s team.
It made sense for the Women’s Premier League because the BCCI wanted to know how many people watched and responded to the first-ever event.After all, they were mainly in uncharted territory. The WPL contributed to the game’s promotion and undoubtedly raised both its player base and popularity. The safer options were Navi Mumbai and Mumbai.
Indian women have won silver medals at the Commonwealth Games and, more recently, gold at the Asian Games. Thus, the approaching home season presented a perfect opportunity to level the playing field and enable supporters across the nation to witness their national team in action.
However, there’s a growing trend of limiting tours to one or two locations. India has made six international tours in the past three years, visiting Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, England, and Australia. With the exception of England, every other host decided to play the guests at one or two locations.
However, given the rising popularity of women’s cricket, India has more at stake.
There was an opportunity to buck the trend and disperse the matches across the nation while the iron was still hot. It seems that India, a country with a rich cricket heritage, only permits one traditional center to support women’s cricket at the moment.
A number of Indian athletes, including Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Varma, and Harmanpreet Kaur, have signed contracts to play in international leagues like the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, the Caribbean Premier League, and the Hundred in England in recent years. They’ve had a taste of traveling to various locations in cities with various teams.
Then there are athletes like Uma Chetry of Assam and Minnu Mani of Kerala who are the first and only female cricket players to represent their states on the national team to date. The game is expanding, that much is certain.
It’s unfortunate that the BCCI has prevented a pan-Indian team from participating in inter-city matches under various weather conditions by assigning them to play on different fields.
Women’s cricket can be promoted throughout India as a simple, effective means of fostering a greater appreciation for the sport and its participants as well as encouraging more people to take up and develop the game.