Reported by Prabhakar Kaza
Has the ICC Women’s World Cup Finals at Lord’s in July 2017, changed the landscape of Indian Women’s Cricket is the question in the minds of several people in India and UK. To find answers, the Indian Forum on British Media held an event on auspicious day of Diwali, in a packed Committee room of the British Parliament, hosted by Mr.Virendra Sharma,MP for Ealing, Southall, who warmly invited the audience to the Parliament and praised the Indian team’s performance. Though the Indian team lost the game, he commented optimistically that it won the hearts of the people.
The Indian Forum on British Media is a twenty-year-old organization, serving as a watchdog on the presentation of Indian events within the mainstream British press and TV,informed the President, Prabhakar Kaza. He added, that the purpose of the event was to mobilise spectator support for Indian Women’s. The audience were requested to join the Facebook page Indian Women’s Cricket Team Fans which has 75,000 members .
Falling back on his vast experience,the veteran BBC sports commentator and author of thirty books, Mihir Bose, regaled the audience with wealth of data and informed them that his interaction with the team has convinced him that with the prodigious talent that they have, the future is bright and the media and online coverage globally has played a major role in increasing awareness and visibility on Women’s cricket. The role of Mithali Raj who has now become even a quiz question, came in for special praise. He praised the composition of the well-knit Women’s team which, unlike the previous generation of players, has cut across economic class, geographical divide and other social divisions.
The history of the Women’s game is as rich as men’s asserted Isabelle Duncan, the MCC Committee member and author of the book – History of Women’s Cricket. She joined Mihir Bose, in praising the excellence of the Indian team and made a fervent plea to BCCI, the richest Cricket board, to pay better salaries to Women, contract more players and hold more matches both domestically and internationally in all the formats, which would jump-start the scope of the game. Prashant Kidambi, Associate Professor at the University of Leicester, covered, covered the past achievements, making a special mention of the Parsees for their contribution and brought out several nuances in the women’s game which indicate enormous potential. He emphasised that the systemic issues and BCCI gender bias of the past be sorted out quickly to accelerate the growth of women’s cricket.Lastly the veteran cricketer and actor, Kamal Prabhakar, congratulated the Indian team for their performance in the Lord’s finals and expanded on his role in making Cricket for girls an interesting experience in UK.Drawing on his own experience, he clarified that Cricket is not just seamers and sixers, but also fielding, fitness, right equipment, stress management, motivation and strategy.
The animated audience took up the Q&A session with the devotion that aficionados of cricket would when they meet experts. They fired a flurry of questions ranging from facilities available for girl’s cricket in India to Women’s IPL and women playing alongside men on equal terms. Anchor, Bharati Desiraju, thanked the audience who turned up in large numbers forgoing Diwali celebrations.
The ultimate legacy of Lord’s finals— when a girl in an Indian house asks for permission to play cricket, the parents will not say No.