Sports Cricket – Indian cricket has dipped its toes in the sea of ​​many sports in Sports. Many India Harmanpree Kaur’s side Harmanpree Kaur’s side doesn’t get a chance to step out of the shadow of the men’s team in cricket very often. A positive display will increase interest in women’s sports at home and allow for gender equality.

Good timing: With the women’s IPL gaining ground and attracting big Indian names to the WBBL and The Hundred, the CWG couldn’t have come at a better time for women’s cricket in the country. | Photo credit: PTI

Sports Cricket

Sports Cricket

All eyes on us: India captain Harmanpreet Kaur says the CWG will be a ‘game changer’, giving the team an opportunity to showcase their cricketing and teamwork skills. | Photo credit: Getty Images

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Adding to her excitement: Smriti Mandhana wants to talk to competitors from other disciplines in the Sports Village and learn about training methods. | Photo credit: Getty Images

Special cricket. It is a team sport where individual talent not only defines its players, but often favors the team itself. It seeks to influence the world without compromising the rights of its superiors. It’s a game that sticks to tradition but still changes style and format. And in India, it’s a game that stands for many things—religion, business, entertainment, celebration.

For these reasons and more, cricket has distanced itself from the multi-disciplinary events that celebrate professional sports – the Olympics, the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games. While cricket was played at the Asian Games in 2010 and 2014, and is set to return in 2022, apart from India, the game’s first proper appearance at the Commonwealth Games was in Malaysia, back in 1998.

At that time, the game was a long way from what it is today, that the current Indian captain, Harmanpreet Kaur, was a tender nine years old, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble were at the peak of their careers, and Shafali Verma was the greatest. more than five years old. . When the Indian players traveled to Birmingham earlier this week, they found themselves in an enviable situation: there is no history to judge, only the opportunity to pioneer a future where the common areas of the Sports Village will let them go. curious about cricketers.

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“It’s going to be a game changer going forward. This is the first time we’ve participated in such a big event. It’s a great platform for our girls to be with a lot of players in a lot of sports and that’s a It’s an opportunity for us to showcase our sports and skills,” said Harmanpreet.

It is the first opportunity for the women’s team. In 1998, the 50-over category was only for men, and the cricketing world was divided over the importance of the event. The Board of Control for Cricket in India was initially reluctant and then keen to send a B team, prioritizing the Sahara Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan in Toronto. The participation in the tournament was guaranteed after the coercion and coercion of the Indian Olympic Association, especially the president Suresh Kalmadi, and the government, which did not abandon its position to include Tendulkar.

16 teams participated, with several West Indies entering themselves. The Indian team was split into two teams – one competing in Kuala Lumpur, the other in Toronto – and their CWG campaign ended in disappointment. The team led by Ajay Jadeja won only one of the three matches they played (one goalless) and failed to reach the knockout stage despite the likes of Tendulkar, Kumble and V.V.S. Laxman.

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This time it was a shorter, more competitive tournament with eight teams playing T20. “All of us as cricketers have watched the Olympics, the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, growing up, seeing the national flag fly from the sky and playing the national anthem. This is an opportunity for us to do that and it is a matter of pride,” coach Ramesh Powar insisted.

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India, Australia, Pakistan and Barbados have been joined in Pool A, where the team will compete against Pakistan only. Harmanpreet said, “This tournament is very important for us and we will definitely play to win a medal. We have grown up watching such events and we are happy that we are also getting this opportunity.”

The tone and tenor is a far cry from the naysayers, expressing their disbelief at being members of the past 24 years. In a way, it also shows the changing nature of sports both globally and locally. While cricket has clearly become the all-consuming behemoth in the country, the public’s interest in other sports, especially during disciplinary meetings, has grown exponentially. India’s self-reliance, if not limitless, success also played its part.

Other cricket powers, including Australia and New Zealand, also continued to support and push for inclusion. With existing markets, apart from India, approaching or on the brink of collapse, major countries are constantly looking for new markets. The spread of T20 matches around the world only suggests the same.

Things are different this time where women cricketers in India are able to step out of the shadow of their male counterparts on their own terms at a level where men are not respected like in other countries of the world. And a good showing on this level will only help to accelerate the achievement of gender equality in terms of opportunities and pay. It will also increase interest in women’s cricket at home.

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With talk of the women’s IPL gaining momentum and the likes of the Big Bash League attracting the attention of India’s biggest names – unlike men, Indian women are allowed to play in other corporate leagues – the CWG It couldn’t have come at a better time. Women of India. It also names the full strength team for the event.

In this case, the location is also different. The 1998 edition was held in Kuala Lumpur, a city not big on cricket, on hastily constructed, unprepared grounds. The interest was from foreigners who know about sports and athletes. This time, playing at Edgbaston on proper pitches in a country that knows cricket, both the interest and the level of competition will be higher.

The change also shows, in some ways, how the concept of the game has changed. Just as India has gone from being a land of roadblocks, stray cattle and the land of Delhi villains in the minds of foreigners, to being the first stop for every professional cricketer, India’s dislike of cricket has turned into violence. if he is careful, curious. multidisciplinary measures.

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“It is a new thing not only for me but for the whole team, we have never been to an event where other sports are involved. It’s a new thing and we don’t know much about the Games Village, so we’re not sure how much we’ll be able to walk around and interact with other players. But I would like to talk to other players about their training, try to know their games and share their experiences,” said vice-captain Smriti Mandhana.

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This is definitely new. Smriti added that the team is continuing to make the transition from chasing the trophy as the winner of the competition to chasing the main stage and the medal, with a vision but a significant change in goal. One man played a big role in this change of perception – Neeraj Chopra and his Olympic gold.

Although the Olympic champion exited the CWG with a different seed, he remained the favorite. Powar wanted to choose Neeraj and Olympic medalist P.V. Sindhu’s mind can handle the pressure – “Both of them put their heads together and I would love to get into their thoughts and plans and share information on how they handle the pressure of the whole community,” says Smriti, and Smriti mentions Neeraj’s success. as a desire to do good.

“I got excited when the national anthem was played and the flag went up after Neeraj won the Olympics. We all have watched these events and everyone knows how it feels when the Indian flag goes up and that’s what we’ve been waiting for. .We are obviously looking for the gold, not just the podium,” she said.

And Harmanpreet hopes to inspire the Indian players in other sports which a single cricket tournament can never deliver. “I had a lot of imagination. Now it’s not just about cricket, we want to celebrate every award we get,” she said.

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There is an apocryphal story about hockey player Dhanraj Pillay being asked what he had that Sachin Tendulkar did not. Pillay allegedly replied: “I am an Olympian, an Asian Games gold medalist. He will never be alone.” The CWG may not have been part of the same Olympic Games, but the Indian women’s team now has a chance to do so.