Calcutta (The Telegraph): Even a docu-drama on women’s cricket gets named ‘Poor Cousins of Million Dollar Babies’. While the Mahendra Singh Dhonis compete with the Shah Rukh Khans in the mass-appeal meter, the Anjum Chopras remain overlooked in the shadows of the glamour and glitz that is synonymous with the game in this part of the world.
But Anjum, a former India captain, effortlessly highlighted the similarities in competitiveness in men’s and women’s cricket when she was asked about the disparity that dominates common perception. The question asked was whether she expects the spotlight to be entirely on the Dhonis in the upcoming World T20, to be held in Sri Lanka, considering the fact the men’s and women’s tournaments will be held simultaneously.
“Yes and no at the same time… The good point is that the big matches would be held on the same day… So the person buying a ticket to watch the semi-finals of the men’s tournament will also have to see the women’s match, since that precedes the men’s tie,” said Anjum, who was in the city to promote the above mentioned docu-drama.
“But it’s obvious that the men’s matches would get a much bigger coverage than the women’s ones… However, I choose to look at the brighter side of the matter… At least, our game gets a much bigger spectator pool,” she added.
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The elegant left-handed batswomen then pointed out a startling piece of statistic to make the point that the women’s game is in no way inferior to the men’s.
“In the 2009 World T20, in England, the second semi-finals of both the men’s and the women’s events were held on the same day… In the women’s semi-final, between England and Australia, the Australians scored 163 for five… In reply, the Englishwomen made 165 for two and won the match.”
“The men’s semi-final was held after that, between Sri Lanka and the West Indies… While the Lankans made 158 for five, the West Indians could manage just 101. So you see the women’s game was much more intense and that is why there’s every chance for us to prosper,” Anjum explained.
Point noted. In fact, what she didn’t say, but the scorecards reveal, is the fact that, while just 29 fours were hit in the men’s match, the women’s tie saw 36 hits to the fence.
But the owner of 2856 runs in ODIs admitted that women’s cricket still has a considerable distance to go to match the men’s game. “I have never gone into any comparisons… But yes, we have still not graduated to that level… I guess that the day we win the World Cup, it would be our stepping stone to move into the next level,” she said.
So the ‘poor cousins’ are definitely on the right track to be the ‘million dollar babies.’