Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cricketing Nation? Not entirely...

Blame it on the World Cup, they say.
Blame it on the lack of excitement.
Hell, it’s plain boring, don’t blame us!

Yeah, so our boys in blue are off to the West Indies to conquer (?) the rest of the cricketing world. And while every single move of theirs is under the scrutiny of the entire nation, their female counterparts are busy doing their job (and how!) against the best in the world. While news of Dhoni praying for an Indian victory (gasp! Who would have thought!) reaches Singapore, most people back in Chennai, where the women’s matches are being held have no idea that the world’s best women cricketers are fighting it out on our home turf.

Consider this- the Indian women are ranked second in the world behind the Aussies. The men’s team is a poor fifth- considering cricket is the one sport we Indians pride ourselves on (and no, Kabaddi doesn’t count- no offence to our brilliant team), fifth out of ten teams, including one that only makes news when the word ‘relegation’ is spoken of, and another whose politics is dragging its cricket down to levels not reached before- is nothing to brag about.

The men returned from South Africa in 2003 as heroes, having reached the finals…two years later, the women repeated the same feat- they lost to the same team in the same venue- they however, returned unheralded…The BCCI, the richest cricketing body in the world, has so far refused to integrate with the WCAI- the Women’s Cricket Association of India- England, Australia and New Zealand already have.

The Indian team boasts of quite a few talents- there’s our charismatic captain, Mithali Raj who, for two years held the world record for most runs scored in a test, there’s Neetu David who has the best bowling figures for the innings, but more than these ‘superstars’, the team, unlike the men’s is characterized by teamwork and a simplicity that wins us most of our matches. Play the good balls, put up a decent score and let the bowlers do their job. The basics never failed anyone.

Our team is currently involved in a quadrangular tournament involving England, Australia and New Zealand- the Big Four of Women’s cricket. So far, we’ve beaten England and Australia comfortably. But who’s talking about that?

Yeah, so watching women in not-so-sexy pants running all over the field isn’t very appealing. Scores are normally below 250- which ERA is women’s cricket in? It’s just too slow, it bores people…

But if nothing else, don’t we owe it to good old-fashioned patriotism to cheer our women on? We cheer our hearts out for the men, why not for the women?

C’mon guys, these gals deserve a lot more than what they have…

Let’s give it up for the WOMEN in blue!

Note- the writer is a diehard fan of the men's team, and fervently hopes they kickass in the world cup. While acknowleding that they're a very well-balanced side and have a great chance of doing well (call it wishful thinking if you must, she prefers to call it optimism), she does wish Dhoni would spend more time on his keeping instead of garnering publicity for his pujas.
Goooo Sachin!

Friday, February 16, 2007