The Indian Women’s Cricket Team recently lost the World Cup against England and it is then that we realised that apart from the Men in blue we had another group of people playing the same sport internationally for India!
Kabir | The New Leam
Over the past few days the news of the Indian Women’s cricket team having lost in the finals of the World Cup against England is doing rounds. Is it not extremely tragic that on usual days when the IPL season is on, most television sets across the nation are tuned to the men in blue, it is the news of a male cricket icon like Virat Kohli or Dhoni endorsing a new product or scoring a new century that rules our imagination, controversies around the BCCI form the headlines and on days when the much loved men’s cricket team plays against Pakistan we cannot help but associate our nationalist emotions to a mere game of cricket!
In all this time we have hardly ever thought of our women’s team and rarely do we know that name of its players, their backgrounds or even what they look like. But now that we have lost the World Cup all our eyes are glued in disappointment at the women’s team.
Much in contradiction to what we really would like to believe sports and especially cricket when played by men is accepted more widely in a nation like India than when played by equally talented women. If you would like to contradict this argument by pointing at the game of tennis or badminton and showing that women are surely shining there then what about many other games like hockey or football where the representation or even the attention given to the women’s team is so insignificant if not altogether absent?
The Indian cricket team of women lead by the talented Mithali Raj lost for the second time in the finals by a tiny margin of only nine runs. But what is important is that despite a stark discrimination, insufficient national attention and hardly any interest of the public in their game the women’s cricket team has performed so well. But what adds to the irony is that despite their individual efforts and trying to give their best to the nation these female cricket players are constantly compared to their male counterparts.
Recently Mithali Raj was asked who her favorite male cricketer was and her snappy reply received immense attention when she asked the reporter to go and ask the same question to the male cricketers. In a country that loves its cricket equal to a religion it is ironic that neither the national media nor the more vibrant social media has adequately spoken about the female version of the game- amidst this our natural inclination towards patriarchal hierarchies is only more apparent. In the nooks’ and corners of this country there are talented swimmers, athletes, players and sportspeople who are waiting to be discovered and nurtured: if only we could look beyond our male centric perspective of sports and allow those ugly patriarchal instincts to take a backseat?
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