Women’s cricket needs money, not innovations

Published June 29, 2020
The game would grow if women’s international matches were broadcast live along with the Decision Review System (DRS) component, Pandey said. — Reuters/File
The game would grow if women’s international matches were broadcast live along with the Decision Review System (DRS) component, Pandey said. — Reuters/File

NEW DELHI: Women’s cricket needs better marketing and investment to grow, and not ‘dubious innovations like a shorter pitch or smaller boundaries, said Indian pace bowler Shikha Pandey on Twitter.

Her comments were a response to New Zealand captain Sophie Devine recommending a smaller ball and Pandey’s India team-mate Jemimah Rodrigues suggesting a shorter pitch to pack more action into women’s cricket.

Devine and Rodrigues spoke in an innovation webinar organised by the governing International Cricket Council earlier this month, but Pandey found most of their suggestions “superfluous”.

“In Olympic 100m female sprinter doesn’t run 80m to win first place medal ... So the whole ‘decreasing the length of the pitch’ for whatever reasons seems dubious,” the 31-year-old said in a series of tweets on Saturday.

Pandey saw some merit in using a smaller ball but said it must weigh the same because a lighter ball would be tougher to grip and travel more slowly.

She resented, though, the idea of having smaller boundaries to encourage power-hitting. “We have surprised you with our power-hitting in recent times, so remember, this is only the beginning; we will get better. Please have patience.”

The game would grow if women’s international matches were broadcast live along with the Decision Review System (DRS) component, she said.

“Growth can also be achieved by marketing the sport well. We don’t have to tinker with rules or the very fabric of the game to attract an audience,” she said.

A record crowd attended the March 8 final of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup when Australia beat India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“They saw something special in us, and here’s hoping you do too!” Pandey tweeted.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020

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