As the staff of BCCI headquarters in Mumbai was bustling around to ensure the live telecast of their precious male cricket team, miles away, in the South African city of Kimberley, Mithali Raj was busy ensuring that her own team performs its heart out. Which they did, beating South Africa’s women cricket team by 88 runs in the first match.
As soon as they heard the news, the BCCI was reminded of this other group of Indian sportspeople that was currently in South Africa representing the nation in the ODI series. It realized its naked indifference towards them, snapped out of its patriarchal reverie and decided to make amends. Hahaha just kidding. The BCCI issued a bland (and wrong) Twitter update of the score, while continuing to shout diligent instructions to show Virat Kohli’s clenched jaw on as many channels as possible. When people complained about the no-show of the women’s match, while the men’s performance was on full blast, the BCCI, swiftly blamed Cricket South Africa, saying that the responsibility was on them to broadcast the match. Perhaps this makes you mad. As it should
But the women’s team of India, it seems, displayed magnificent indifference in return to the BCCI. It went on to play the second match held on 7th Feb with brilliance and elan. To give you a gist, pacer Jhulan Goswami took the wicket of South African batswoman Laura Wolvaardt, thus becoming the first female cricketer to claim 200 ODI wickets in the history of women’s cricket. She had entered the second match with 199 wickets in her bag. The same match showed opener Smriti Mandhana slamming 135 runs against the South African team, helping to beat them with a total of 178 runs.
The win in both matches in the three-match ODI series has now ensured Indian women’s team’s secure position in the 2021 World cup.
On one hand, we are thrilled by the women’s team’s continuing Wonder Woman behaviour in the face of the BCCI’s doltish attitudes. On the other hand, we are enraged that they have to be stoic and soldier on instead of being feted and celebrated and enjoying some wall-to-wall Jhulan.