The contrast between the Indian men’s team and the women’s squad cannot be starker. The men’s team, with all the support in the world, extremely well paid and pampered, cannot compete with an average Test side in England. They even got enough time to accustom themselves to the conditions, and yet have fared miserably. The women’s team, on the other hand, with little or no backing from the BCCI (read poor pay as well), and with a team comprising of eight debutants, comes to England and plays their first Test in eight years against a highly experienced English squad, and comes up trumps.
Some may feel that the comparison may be skewed since Indian eves were featuring in a one-off Test while India’s men are competing in a five-Test series. Even so the fact that the men have got everything going for them, right from supreme financial security to super star status, and yet they come a cropper should make them ashamed of their terrible performance in England, especially when the women’s team has overcome a powerful English side pretty much on their own, with extreme determination and hard work, and no starry status.
It is about time the BCCI pays some attention to women’s cricket, and not just concentrate all their efforts and money on the men’s team. The fact that the Indian women’s side hasn’t played a Test in eight years is nothing short of a mockery of the women’s game in India. In the same span of time, their male counterparts have played close to 50 Tests, and it would be wrong to say that they actually have ended up losing at least 25 per cent of those matches. Yet, the money keeps flowing in unabated for the underperforming men.
Post their history Test victory in England, skipper Mithali Raj, one of the chief architects of India’s victory, hoped that they will get more support. "I'm sure that if we start winning matches and bigger series the BCCI will someday take up this issue of payment," were here exact words. This statement makes it amply clear that India’s women are not being backed by the BCCI although they are supposed to. She also made another ironic statement post the victory – “I am very happy that before I hang up my boots I got to win another Test.” No, Raj is not retiring, but India don’t know when they will play their next Test!
For now, the Indian women must celebrate their rare win in England. It was a stellar team effort, with so many of their players chipping in with bat and ball. Niranjana Nagarajan claimed four wickets in the first innings to roll over England for 92. She chipped in with the bat as well, contributing 27. Jhulan Goswami then claimed four wickets in England’s second innings before half-centuries from Smriti Mandhana and Raj took them home. The men’s team have everything the women’s team don’t in terms of support, but what they lack is the attitude and killer instinct possessed by the eves.
--By A Cricket Analyst