Opinion: Why Harmanpreet Kaur is energising Women's Cricket all over the world
Certain sportspersons have had a phenomenal impact on the sports that they played. The impact has, on many occasions, been so great that the service they've rendered to promoting their sport is matchless. Vishy Anand in the Indian Chess scene, a wide variety of cricketers and Sunil Chhetri for football are some such examples.
Indian cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur's rise to international fame has been a major blessing for both women's cricket in India as well as the world. The Indian T20 captain has become a household name in India following her exploits in the Women's World Cup in 2017. Despite India finishing as runners-up, Harmanpreet Kaur made a name for herself with her belligerent hitting in a very talented Indian side.
Since the World Cup, Kaur has expanded and advanced her cricketing phenomenally. She became the first Indian cricketer to sign on for the Australian Women's Big Bash and was particularly dangerous while playing for Sydney Thunder. Kaur now captains the T20 side and has started the T20 World Cup in blistering form. Her contribution to women's cricket cannot be ignored.
Women's cricket in India has always been on the cusp of popularity but has grown exponentially following India's performance at the World Cup. Stalwarts like Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami have been great servants to women's cricket and have no doubt inspired thousands of girls not only in India but around the world to try their hand at cricket.
What Harmanpreet provides is a modern face to Indian and women's cricket. She seems to be an icon that more girls of a younger age group can relate and look up to. Her presence in the national side is easily discernible.
A boisterous and uplifting presence, Harmanpreet doesn't require the official captaincy to behave like a natural leader. Her performances with the bat ably support her claim as one of the best cricketers in the world and an ever-reliable player in the Indian side.
Kaur has a long way to go in her cricket career and she finds herself playing at a time when the women's game is drastically growing in popularity. No longer do we see empty grounds and a lack of information around women's cricket.
Its marketability has grown exponentially and games are now frequently televised on mainstream channels like Star Sports. This growth should complement Harmanpreet's cricketing career both in terms of her on-field performances as well as her ever-growing influence on social media and cricketing fan forums.
Women's cricket possesses the potential to rival the men's game in the years to come and with players like Harmanpreet Kaur, it's easy to see why the sport's popularity has evolved over the past 4 years.
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