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With the Women’s Cricket World Cup on, it’s time to look at five Indian women cricketers who are at the top of their game. Here are the star players you need to know about!
Cricket is a no less than a religion in India. Unfortunately though, for the most part, it’s only true for men’s cricket.
As I switched on my desktop and opened the Google homepage, I found myself completely engulfed in a game of bat-ball (Cricket, obviously) between crickets (insects) and snails. Google has put up a doodle for anyone and everyone who enjoys a game of cricket every now and then. Reason? June 24th marked the beginning of the 2017 edition of Women’s World Cup Cricket. Following are five Indian women cricketers you need to look out for if you are a die-hard cricket fan.
How else can one begin a discussion on Indian women cricketers besides mentioning the captain of Indian Cricket Team, Mithali Raj? She captains the Test and ODI team. Dubbed the ‘Captain Cool’ of Indian women’s cricket, she has a batting average of over 50 in both the Test and ODI formats of the game. She topped the ODI chart during the 2013 World Cup. She is the all-time leading run-scorer in women’s cricket in all formats.
Harmanpreet Kaur is one of the most astounding women cricketers that the world of Indian cricket has ever seen. She is an all-rounder. Debuting in the ODI format in the year 2009 against Pakistan in WWC2009, she has since achieved the role of the captain of the women T20 team, all thanks to her impressive performances. In 2013, after being named the captain of the ODI format during India’s tour to Bangladesh, Kaur performed in the series with an average 97.50 runs. She currently holds the highest individual score by an Indian Women Cricketer, standing at 107 from 109 balls.
Considered the top wicket taker of the international women’s cricket (182 wickets with a best of 6-31), Jhulan Goswami is also an all-rounder from the National cricket team. She earned the ICC Women’s Player of the Year in 2007. She is distinguished as one of the fastest female bowlers, and has been a recipient of the prestigious Arjuna Award in the year 2010. She has taken 40 Test wickets in 10 matches with a total of 271 international wickets and a has a batting score of 1593 runs in 223 games. With such a remarkable score card, Goswami still continues to perform with great expertise both on and behind the crease.
Starting from Tamil Nadu state team (Under 16) and Indian Railways team, among others, Thirush Kamini debuted in international cricket in the year(s) 2009 (ODI v/s Pakistan) and 2014 (Test v/s England). In WC2013, she became the first Indian woman to score a century in World Cup (100 off 146 balls). In the Test format, Kamini holds the record of second best test score by an Indian woma (192 off 430 balls). In the WC Qualifiers 2017 against Ireland, she has scored her career best unbeaten (113 off 194 balls) and has become the first Indian woman to score a century in Qualifiers. She been accredited as a Grade A player by the BCCI.
A young girl inspired by her father and brother, Mandhana was selected for Maharashtra’s State Under-15 team at the age of nine, and for Under-19 team at eleven. One of her greatest achievements comes from her domestic career that helped her become the first Indian woman to score a double century in a one-day game. She scored a staggering 224 off 150 balls against Gujarat State team. Her international debut to ODI and Test formats were in the years 2013 and 2014, respectively. With an impressive average of 30.47 runs from 23 ODIs, Mandhana was the only Indian player to be named in the ICC Women’s Team of the Year 2016. Though she has been injured and did not play in in the 2017 WC qualifiers, she started with an amazing performance of 90 against England in Derby in the first group match held on June 24th.
One can see that there is clearly no dearth of striking women cricketers in India. Yet their status still remains lesser known. A major reason could be that most of the international sports are looked upon from a patriarchal- for the lack of a better word- point of view. In one recent interview, a journalist asked Mithali Raj who her favourite male cricketer was to which she gave a befitting reply, “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? I have always been asked ‘who’s your favourite cricketer’ but you should ask them who their favourite female cricketer is.” Which is true and actually needed.
No one is probably going to ask MS Dhoni, or Sachin Tendulkar or any other male cricketer who their favourite female cricketer is. At most, they would be enquired about their role models in the world of cricket.
We need to start thinking that Women’s cricket is an exclusive sport in itself, and not something which constantly needs to be compared to or looked at from the point of view of Men’s cricket. Then only can we truly understand the value of and cherish the amazing sport that international cricket is!
Top image via this Youtube video of Mithali Raj at a press conference
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Just your average pen-wielding person with a knack for thinking inside the box.
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