Those who still view cricket as being a male-dominated sport got a reality check when last year during ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, the Indian team nearly clinched the trophy in the finals. Furthermore, to the doubters’ utter surprise when the Indian team thumped South Africa in their own backyard, there were more stunned faces than there are stocks on the New York stock exchange.
India Women’s team’s constant rise amid bias
If there’s a phrase that aptly summarises the journey of India Women’s team then one reckons is might be- indomitable will. From being perennial backmarkers in the sport subjected to bias to now having an old-guard Mithali Raj becoming the highest T20 run scorer in the history of India, India Women’s team has fought fire-to-fire in emerging clear of doubts their detractors had of them.
Smriti and Harmanpreet shine big
Perhaps nothing could augur more for the current sentiment than BCCI itself rewarding two of the firepowers of the India Women’s Team in the just-concluded awards felicitation ceremony. While there were big honours in the men’s’ game, the Indian Women’s team swept some crucial awards with firebrand opening batswoman Smriti Mandhana winning the 2017-18 Women’s cricketer of the year award while current T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur clinched the cricketer of the year for the 2016-17 season.
This is, indeed, a watershed moment in the women’s game
Firstly, it’s for the first time ever that the BCCI has chosen a winner for the best international cricketer category from India Women’s side.
This, in turn, poses a lot of respectability and responsibility on the current lot to drive the future cricketers from the sub-continental cricketing force in their bid to forge a remarkable future ahead.
They might be constantly embroiled in a state of international competition, but the likes of Harmanpreet and Smriti are also blossoming national figures in whose hands rests the responsibility to inspire future Indian cricketers.
In a country where idealism often enjoys strong competition from idol-worship, cricketers aren’t just recognized talents rather, role-model figures.
There’s a lot at stake. There’s a constant surge for inspiration.
Interestingly, there were two other prestigious award winners
Even as the Smriti-Harman duo made for the headline-material, winning the big BCCI honours, two other awards were handed out to an established and rising cricketer, respectively. While all-rounder Deepti Sharma won the Jagmohan Dalmiya award for the best domestic senior women’s cricketer, her teammate and rising talent- Jemimah Rodriguez secured the Jagmohan Dalmiya award for the best domestic junior women’s cricketer.
This is rewarding sheerly for the inspiration it serves for other existing members of a side that’s forging strong competition with the best teams in the world- South Africa, New Zealand, England and, Australia.
Even as there’s hardly a doubt about the poster-girls of Indian women’s team driving change and breaking stereotypes in emboldening the image of India Women’s team, one couldn’t have possibly asked for a better recognition for the rising talents in the unit.
Currently, the Indian side is involved in an exciting 2018 Asia Cup battle wherein they are the table toppers having clinched great wins against the likes of Sri Lanka, Malaysia and, Thailand.