Women’s World T20 2018: An event you would not want to miss
Friday, 9th of November is going to be etched in golden letters in the history of cricket as the 2018 edition of the women’s World T20 gets underway in West Indies as a standalone event.
All the previous 5 women’s T20 World Cups were held alongside the men’s event and perhaps never really grabbed the spotlight.
If one analyzes the viewership and attendance numbers for women’s fixtures in those editions, the knockout games were relatively the most watched as people who purchased tickets for men’s knockout games could also watch the women’s game the same afternoon as part of an effort to bring in more crowds. Fair enough.
But, the multi-dimensional rise in women’s Cricket and the general interest in public for the shortest format of the game might have been factored in for the go-ahead to this tournament. The 50-over Women’s World Cups too did not take place alongside the Men’s event.
So, what’s so monumental about the “standalone” tag for this tourney?
If the huge success of 2017 50-over Women’s World Cup is like a plane gathering the speed and momentum before take-off, this Women’s World T20 is the take-off itself!
And, after the final in Antigua on the 24th of November, both men and women would have played 6 World T20 editions each - nice to see parity, isn’t it?
We may not see 100 metres (or longer) sixes from the batters and 140+ clicks from bowlers over the next 2 weeks, but there will be no shortage of entertainment - no two ways about it. The agility as a result of the emphasis laid on fitness is bound to result in some unbelievable catches and superlative fielding. Back of the hand slower ball, knuckle-ball, slower bouncer, scoop shot, ramp shot, reverse sweep and you name it: absolutely no dearth of innovation as there is an assortment of skills that we would be treated with.
Defending champions Windies would be rearing to dominate again while Australia and England are perhaps the hotshots. South Africa, New Zealand cannot be discounted by any means.Bangladesh(who won the Asia Cup 2018), Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Ireland are capable of winning but cannot afford to bring anything short of their A game to the fore.
India should feel quietly confident this time around as they seem to have most bases covered to go all the way.
BCCI’s initial hesitant attitude towards embracing T20 and almost pulling out of the inaugural men’s T20 World Cup in 2007 is a well-documented piece of history. But, the eventual triumph led to the launch of IPL-a big stage especially for budding Indian players to not only earn name and fame but also learn the game. The likelihood of IPL for women has been doing rounds but if India clinches the trophy, chances of concertizing women’s IPL would become ten-fold.
We have already seen the manner in which Kia Super League, Women’s Big Bash League, etc have provided players with the resources, exposure and the platform to take their game to a higher pedestal, not to mention the financial security associated.
More eyeballs lead to more wealth into the game which could then be channelled for implementing better coaching and infrastructural facilities and launching new leagues. Young girls would be inspired by their idols and parents encouraged to extend their unreserved support in the child taking Cricket as a full-time career option.
The impact of a tournament or league can change the lives of many in unprecedented ways. Above all, the organizers, boards, coaching staff, players and everyone directly or indirectly involved can learn a lot from such a standalone event and the future is only going to get better when the shortcomings-if any- are diligently and promptly addressed.
Cricket enthusiasts who could not be in constant touch with women’s cricket between 2016 World T20 and now would indubitably be amazed by the huge strides made in the right direction. Pretty sure the male cricketers would be keeping an eye out, if not two, on the spectacle!