It is believed that Cricket, especially Men’s Cricket outshines all other sports forms in India. It is a common myth that only Indian Men’s Cricket players have brought glory to India and therefore deserve more attention and applauds. Recently, on January 29, 2016, the Indian Women’s Cricket team won the T-20 World Cup at Melbourne Cricket Ground, beating Australia by ten wickets in their home ground itself. This was their first bilateral series victory over Australia Women in any format. Yet, Indian Women’s Cricket history tells an interesting story of evolution through various difficulties.
When and How it All Started:
The game started casually amongst women during early 70’s itself, but it got an official shape when the then founder secretary registered the Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI) under the Societies Act at Lucknow in 1973 under the President ship of Begum Hamida Habibullah.
Starting from the first Women’s Inter-State Nationals in Pune, with the participation of three teams of Mumbai, Maharashtra and UP, the Indian Women’s Cricket underwent the following phases of metamorphosis:
• The number of teams increased to eight during the second phase held at Varanasi in 1973.
• Fourteen teams played in the third championship held at Calcutta.
• Indian Railways and Air India recruited women cricketers.
• Interstate tournaments came into existence.
• Rani Jhansi trophy was held at Kanpur in the year 1974. This was followed by the birth of Indira Priyadarshini Trophy and Rau’s Cup.
• Mrs. Chandra Tripathi and Mrs.Pramilabai Chavan shouldered the responsibility of Chairperson and President of the Executive Committee respectively and played a key role in the further development of Indian Women’s Cricket.
• WCAI became a member of International Women’s Cricket Council (IWCC) and got Government recognition in 1978.
• The first International Women’s test cricket was played in Pune between India and Pune, followed by Delhi and Calcutta.
• Ujwala Nikam, Sudha Shah, and Shreeroopa Bose were the first three captains to play against New Zealand, Australia, and West Indies respectively.
• Indian Women’s Cricket team won the first test match in 1976 by beating West Indies in front of 25000 spectators.
• After the amalgamation of the Women’s Cricket Association with the English Cricket board, India first went to England in the year 1999 and achieved a remarkable feat by winning the one-day series and drawing the test series.
• Some of the gems of Indian Women’s Cricket are Shanta Rangaswamy, Diana Edulji, Shubhangi Kulkarni, Sandhya Agarwal, Neetu David and in the recent times, Anjum Chopra and Jhulan Goswami.
• Till date, Indian Women’s Cricket team has participated in the World Cup competitions of 1978, 1982, 1993 and 1997. WCAI, when just five years old, even hosted the 1978 World Cup without having any backing of sponsorships.
Although there has been a remarkable change in the picture of Indian Women’s Cricket, yet, a lot needs to be done from the side of the concerned authorities, to ensure even bigger achievements both in the national and international level.
Image Source: Espncricinfo