Anjum Chopra, who was part of the Indian Women’s team during the 2005 World Cup in South Africa, returned home with mixed emotions as her team faltered at the final stage to lose to Australia in the summit clash. The same emotions were felt by a young captain Mithali Raj, who was 22 when she led the team in 2005.
According to a study commissioned by the International Cricket Council, which sought the inputs of sports fans across Australia, England and Wales, India, New Zealand and South Africa, 93 per cent ranked the standard of cricket during the 2017 World Cup as the best they had ever seen. The research also stated 82 per cent followed the tournament more than any other event involving women cricketers, with 67 per cent stating that they would take a greater interest in following the women’s game.
“It took me two months to unpack my luggage since my return (from England), I’ve been very busy but I’m enjoying this phase because it again gives me an opportunity to speak about women’s cricket on various platforms. People are more curious to learn about the life of women cricketers, how the journey of women cricketers and women’s cricket in India has been. I guess I’m doing that job since two months and I’m very happy because the interest has developed after the World Cup.
“For starters, I see women’s cricket in a round table discussion along with men’s cricket. People have started to follow the stats of women’s cricket – how many runs, how many hundreds each one of us have scored, what’s been the career of a particular player, which interests them. I can say that they have got women’s cricket on the same level as men’s cricket in India. People don’t talk about only men’s cricket. Even young boys have started to idolise women cricketers,” Raj added.