Women’s Pro Bengal T20 League: A Reality Check on Domestic Women’s Cricket in India

Source: Bengal Pro t20 League Instagram

The Women’s Pro Bengal T20 League, organised by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), was supposed to showcase the tremendous strides made in women’s cricket in India. With increased funding, improved facilities, and a surge of opportunities for lady cricketers, you’d think the standard of play would reflect these advancements. However, a recent experience watching a match in the league revealed a different story, highlighting the need for continued development at the domestic level.

The match had a few marquee players who stood out with their maturity and performance, showing the potential that exists in Indian women’s cricket. These players, with their skill and composure, were clearly streets ahead, providing a glimpse of what the future could hold if the right steps are taken. However, there were more than a few exceptions.

Unfortunately, the rest of the players struggled to exhibit even basic cricketing skills. Many seemed completely clueless about fundamental aspects of the game, like fielding positions. Watching fielders uncertain about where to station themselves was almost shocking, suggesting a significant gap in the coaching and tactical understanding at the domestic level. This lack of basic game awareness is concerning, especially given the professional setup they are part of.

More irksome was the apparent lack of effort and intent among some players. Fielders from one team, in particular, appeared indifferent, not putting in their best efforts even though they are getting paid for their participation.

This level of disengagement is troubling because the fight for better pay and facilities in women’s cricket has been a long and hard-fought battle. Now that these resources are finally being provided, lack of dedication from some players is a disservice to those who have worked tirelessly to elevate the game.

The slow pace, frequent mis-fielding, and general lack of competitiveness were disappointing. This scenario raises critical questions about the effectiveness of the current development programmes and whether they are truly preparing players for the rigours of competitive cricket.

Despite the significant progress in women’s cricket infrastructure and support, the performances at the domestic level indicate that much more work is needed. The question arises: where does the problem lie?

One possible issue is the coaching at the grassroot level. While facilities and funding have improved, the quality of coaching and mentorship may not have kept pace. Ensuring that young cricketers receive high-quality training and develop a strong understanding of the game is crucial. This includes not only technical skills but also tactical awareness and mental fortitude.

Another factor could be the competitive structure of domestic tournaments. While more tournaments are being organised, the level of competition needs to be consistently high to truly challenge and develop players. Creating a more competitive environment may require a re-evaluation of the league structures and ensuring that the best players are constantly pushed to improve.

The Women’s Pro Bengal T20 League did highlight the progress made in Indian women’s cricket, but it also underscores the fact substantial work still needed at the domestic level. Addressing these issues is essential to ensure that the advancement in funding and facilities translate into tangible improvements on the field. That alone can raise the standard of women’s cricket in India.