Women’s cricket in India was given direct management by the BCCI in 2006. On the ground, the move had little impact. Despite the fact that the Indian women’s team reached the finals of the 2017 ODI World Cup in England and will repeat the feat at the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, women’s cricket in India remains a story of limited resources and opportunities. Women cricketers do not have the option to play competitively at the school, university, or club level, despite a salary increase for top players in 2018. There is no uniform framework in place for age group cricket at the state level. Even the national team went a year without playing after their appearance in the 2020 T20 final; despite the fact that this was the year the epidemic struck, the men’s national team was able to play, and the IPL continued. Another major issue for women in India is the lack of a franchise league. The 100 has been established in England, and the Women’s Big Bash League has been established in Australia, yet the board that oversees the world’s most successful T20 league does not have a tournament for women.
Why are there still so large disparities between the men’s and women’s games? Is there any intention of closing the gap? In an interview, BCCI secretary Jay Shah discussed these and other topics in depth.
Do you think the BCCI could have organized more tours with so much time lost due to the pandemic and so few international events for women after they reached the T20 World Cup final?
Having a tournament in the midst of a pandemic is a huge risk, and the BCCI had no intention of jeopardizing the players’ health and safety. Furthermore, each state had its own set of laws and limits for hosting outdoor athletic events. States with fewer figures were the first to open, while others took their time.
We didn’t look back once the immunization began to spread. We had made establishing a women’s FTP a priority, and as a result, we scheduled back-to-back tours of England and Australia to make up for the time missed due to pandemic-related constraints. The team will now conduct a training camp before heading to New Zealand (for the 2022 ODI World Cup).
Women’s five-day Test matches were recently sanctioned by the BCCI. When may we expect additional five-day Tests from the Indian team?
In women’s cricket, England and Australia are now the only two significant teams to play red-ball cricket. We’ve made a start, and we’ll try to build on it. Our girls also dominated a historic pink-ball Test against Australia, despite it being their first time playing with the pink ball. As more international teams participate in the red-ball system, the number of Test matches may increase.
The domestic structure is adjusted to meet the needs and demands of our national team, with the major events of the year in mind. For example, because the 50-over World Cup is coming up in New Zealand in March, the focus will be on that format. Only two teams presently play multi-day cricket, as the majority of teams prefer white-ball cricket because the flagship ICC events are played in this format. The ICC Men’s Test Championship exists, but there is no equivalent competition for women.
Two fast track Level 2 Courses for international cricketers were held by the NCA. A 7-week series of ongoing professional development seminars for women coaches was held around the country in a first-of-its-kind effort, with 24 BCCI Level 2 qualified coaches and former India players with BCCI Level 1 certifications in attendance. More women coaches are undoubtedly on the way, and NCA has been working to align our coaches and coaching program. Our coaches will gain much-needed exposure and experience through the India A and Women’s T20 Challenge.
The addition of a fourth team to the Challengers Trophy was made in order to provide our selectors more options and broaden our talent pool. Our senior, established stars were not chosen, and the emphasis was on kids because we wanted to give them more match time and put them to the test in real-match conditions. There’s no denying that we need a deep bench and capable backups.
The women’s T20 Challenge has sparked a lot of interest among spectators, which is a good indication. We certainly want a league similar to the IPL for our female cricketers, but it’s not as simple as forming three or four clubs and proclaiming the start of a women’s IPL. A specific window, the availability of foreign stars, and the bilateral obligations of member boards, to name a few, are all elements that come into play. We’re looking at all of our options and hoping to put together a comparable league for our female players in the future.