What's the story?
Three and a half year old Anushka Ekbote gave a beautiful tribute to Mithali Raj, by cosplaying the Indian cricket skipper for a fancy dress competition in her school.
"The idea of dressing her up as Mithali was mine. It was because the women's cricket team recently inspired the whole nation," said her father, Apoorva Ekbote, who spoke to Buzzfeed.
He also revealed that his daughter identifies with strong female characters, while adding that young girls like her need role models like Raj to look up to and admire.
In case you didn't know...
The Indian women's cricket team had an inspired World Cup campaign last month, where they went on to reach the final of the pestrigious tournament, which they lost by a whisker.
Every member of the team contributed at one point or the other through the tournament, and the viewership of the event also increased manifold in the country as and when the girls went deeper into the competition.
The tweet from Ekbote and the video that was uploaded with it were both so heartwarming that it got a gracious reply from Raj in less than half a day:
This is cute! ????— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) August 10, 2017
May she achieve her endeavours in all the spheres of life! https://t.co/FKJRvWirDi
The fact that kids today aspire to become like Raj proves that the audience is taking notice of women's cricket. It is not a fringe sport anymore, and has the capacity to grow exponentially in the next few years.
BCCI officials have to ensure that they find a way of using newfound popularity of women's cricket to promote it in the country. Young girls need to be encouraged to take up the sport, and that will happen only if the right avenues are established and developed.
The Indian skipper's incredible career, coupled with her seamless poise, has made sure that young girls aspiring to play the game don't need to look up to male cricketers anymore.
They have Raj to inspire them, to motivate them to pick up the willow or to practice bowling.
Young Anushka is an example of the same. After years of toil and hard work, Raj is finally getting the respect and attention that she deserves. It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.