How does it feel to be a woman cricketer in India?

Indian women's cricket team has come a long way since the blemishes of the yesteryears. In terms of performances the side has woven a consistency, and although they aren't consistent, there is a sense of promise.

The women’s team hardly compares to men’s team in terms of popularity and sponsorship. And that in turn has also seen fans lending more support to the men's cricket as close to empty stadiums greet the other sex.

Issues still loom large for the women's side, who in 2017 reached the final of the 2017 ICC World Cup. The 2018 Asia Cup T20 finalists have still not come up as a force like the men's in terms of fans paying respect and dignity and more over love. In times come, the mindset will need to change for the side to have a house-full of fans, rooting all the way.

When one looks at the final of the 2017 ICC WC final in England, the stadium was packed and bouncy. Can the same happen in India in time to come? Or should the likes of Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur have to urge the fans via social media outlets like Indian football skipper Sunil Chhetri did days ago.

The issue lies in the fact that apart from men's cricket, most sports in India fail to attract crowds as all the noises and talks are mostly made on sites like Twitter. There is nobody to be physically present to go and boost the players on the field.

Having said that the BCCI has been looking to better the situation of women's cricket, but there is a lot of work that need to be done. In the pay hike implemented by the BCCI in March 2018, there was a clear picture on the gap present in terms of salaries.

While BCCI had introduced a new category A+ for Indian Men's team, a category C has been also introduced for Indian women cricketers. BCCI has also raised the domestic match fees by almost 200 percent in each category.

The women's team was divided in three grades, where the Grade A ones will be getting Rs 50 lakh, those in Grade B will be paid Rs 30 lakh and the ones in Grade C will be handed Rs 10 lakh each. Comparatively for the men's cricket, the payment was Rs 7 crore, 5 crore, 3 crore and 1 crore respectively.

Can't the payment be same for both genders, or at least could women's cricketers have seen a range close to the men? Yes, a lot goes with performances and sponsorship deals, but women's team should be given the confidence that the board is behind them and helping them to rise.

In terms of endorsements too, men's cricketers are ruling the roost at the moment. One can hardly see the Indian women's team cricketers getting deals to do the same on television and in turn promoting their sport. Once can remember only Mithali Raj coming into television in recent months, but the rest are still ignored.

The issue isn't just looming in India and the BCCI, but gender pay gap also exists in other cricket boards as well. In other sports too, there is an existence of the same. That's where sportswomen like tennis star Serena Williams and England cricketer Tammy Beaumont have been campaigning for equal pay in sports.

But many say much more needs to be done to achieve equal pay for men and women in sports.

The BCCI has finally come up with an IPL style T20 tourney for women, which will begin in the near future. But one wonders that the board should do more in terms of strategy and marketing in order to promote the sport. Women's T20 leagues have already started in other countries and although it seems like India's time is coming, there is a lot that need to be done.


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