By Manasi Nene
At the opening ceremony for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, Mithali Raj was asked the question that every world-class female athlete is routinely asked – who’s her favourite male counterpart? Raj was asked who her favourite male cricketer is, between India and Pakistan.
“Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer?” she hit back. “Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?”
“I have always been asked who’s your favourite cricketer,” she continued, “but you should ask them who their favourite female cricketer is.”
Raj also spoke about the imbalance, in the amount of attention the men’s team receives. “There’s a lot of difference because we are not a regular on television,” she said. “Now the BCCI has made an effort that the last two home series have been televised and social media has improved a lot of it but there is a still a lot of catch-up to do in terms of recognition”.
Despite this, she appreciates the role of men in the game, especially when it comes to coaching. “Men’s cricket sets the bar. We are always trying to reach where they set the standard. All of us follow men’s cricket because we want at some point that women’s cricket would be up there,” she said.
And this is only the lead-up to a bigger challenge for Raj – India’s World Cup campaign begins on June 24, against the hosts, England. Hopefully, she doesn’t have to fight any more sexism on the way.
(Hat tip to Alok Prasanna Kumar for alerting us on the meme potential.)