Where Do the Other Top Nations Stand?
In terms of treating their players better, Cricket Australia has led from the front. In 2016, they ensured the women’s team got the same treatment at the T20 World Cup in India. The following year, they increased wages for the women’s team by more than 100% and both genders get equal pay as received by their male counterparts in terms of the revenue sharing model.
Furthermore, CA promised, for the 2020 T20 World Cup, to top up whatever money their women’s team would win from ICC to ensure parity with the men’s prize money.
What pushed Cricket Australia into the move for an improved pay scale was the united front the cricketers put up, led by the the Australian Cricketers’ Association.
In England, the cricket board has more than 40 players on central contracts. Since 2017, cricket has made the biggest moves in terms of gender parity, according to a study by BBC in March 2021. That apart, the ECB’s new tournament, The Hundred, will feature equal prize money for the men’s and women’s competitions. The organisers said the total prize budget of £600,000 ($769,000, 689,000 euros) would be split fifty-fifty between the women’s and men’s competitions as part of the governing body’s “commitment to making cricket a gender-balanced sport”.
More often than not, the BCCI has fallen short when it comes to treating the women’s team with respect, and the sluggish approach needs to change. The delayed team announcements for the recently completed South Africa series and the much-rushed process of appointing Ramesh Powar as Head coach, replacing WV Raman reeks of an unprofessional attitude.
Not to forget, the immaculately planned Women’s T20 Challenge, which clashed with the Women’s Big Bash League last year, causing marquee players to miss out.
Undoubtedly, the women’s team is more than eligible for a bump up in their contracts and their fixtures deserve more of the spotlight.
Women’s cricket in India needs a dedicated administrative approach and that is the only way to display ‘commitment’. While Sourav Ganguly can truly step up and set an example, yet again, for more of Indian cricket to follow, the likes of Smriti Mandhana must take the chance and rock the boat, much like the current T20 Women’s World Champions.
From better live coverage to more sponsors, to more matches for the national team, and finally more of the pie, the onus is squarely on the administration because those wearing the India cap are there specifically to play cricket.
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