Victory Against Incomparable Australia Will Give India Women’s Cricket Wings

Source: BCCI Women

Australia, the best team in the world by a country mile. A team that is well and truly comparable to Clive Lloyd’s West Indies and Ricky Ponting’s men’s side that dominated cricket for a decade. Having won World Cups with ease, this Australian women’s team will go down in history as the very best. And that’s what magnifies India’s achievement. Helps us put things in context. Allows us to speak about this Test win, and say that it is the best thing to happen to the sport in years. A year which started with the Women’s Premier League becoming a reality now ends with Test victories against England and Australia. Without doubt the best-ever year for the women’s game in India.

And then, you note that the women don’t play red-ball cricket. The ICC isn’t very keen either. You know this has to change. The discrimination needs to be done away with. May be the BCCI now has the ammunition it needs to press for more red-ball cricket for the women. For they, needless to say, are ready. For more wins and more accolades.

It was March 2020, and India’s women had made the final of the World T20 in Australia against all odds. It was the second final for the side in three years after Mithali Raj had led the team to the final of the 50-over World Cup in England in 2017. With 86,000 fans at the MCG, the occasion was a real spectacle. While the Australians dominated the match with Alyssa Healy playing a blinder, and won yet another world title, every Indian fan was left with hope that big things were round the corner for the team. With a prodigious talent in Shafali Verma at the top of the order, joining hands with the hugely talented Smriti Mandhana, India were ready to push England and Australia and force open the big league.

Also Read: IND W v ENG W || India Women’s Stellar Win against England Aside, Future of Tests Remains Bleak

Jemimah Rodrigues was always touted as a young prodigy and with Harmanpreet Kaur playing some of the best innings the sport had seen, the hope was not unfounded. Add Richa Ghosh and Deepti Sharma to the mix and it wasn’t a batting line-up that looked any less compared to any other team. And yet the hope wasn’t fulfilled. Consistently inconsistent, the Indian graph was on a downward curve the last few years, and some wins against minor teams in the Asian Games notwithstanding, performance was surely the root cause.

On the back of yet another white-ball series loss against England, not many had given the Indian women a chance in the one-off Test match. But then, Amol Mazumdar and the team had other ideas – 400 runs scored on the opening day was a telling statement. India meant business, and how. Once the runs were on the board, the bowlers could get stuck in. Make the match their own. And in three days, England were blown away. A huge statement made.

Some said, however, that it was an aberration. Australia were next, and as I said at the start, this was Australia. A team that is considered the ultimate benchmark. And now, India have beaten them. And how. India as a red-ball team has stood up to all the challenges and forced open the door to demand more Tests. Performance speaks, and it will be hard to deny the girls going forward.

The sport now has momentum. All things point to a superb WPL and 2024. We have a World Cup in September, and as Jhulan Goswami said to me recently, it could well be the World Cup that India needs to change things once and for all. That’s our Christmas wish as we celebrate a famous victory. Congratulations, and here’s to many more.

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