How do Women's Test Cricket Match Differ From Men’s Test Cricket Match
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Cricket is not just a sport. It is an emotion for the people who watch it. But what was cricket before T20, Premiere leagues, or ODI's? The history of cricket goes back to possibly the 13th century, but the literature says it started in southeast England in the late 16th century. The game was invented by shepherds who used some flat farm tool as a bat and maybe a stone covered in sheep hair as their ball, and a wooden gate as their wicket. They played on the grasslands.
Several words are thought to be possible sources for the term, tracing the origin of the word' Cricket.' In the earliest references, it was spelled 'Creckett.' The name may have come from the Dutch word 'Krick,' meaning a stick or old English words 'Cryce' or 'Cricc,' meaning a staff, or 'criquet' a French word meaning a wooden post, and the list goes on.
It originated in England and became the country’s national sport in the 18th century. First country teams were formed, and first professional cricketers were introduced, but cricket hadn't reached a stage where it was a viable career option.
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From the very beginning, cricket had been a male-dominated sport. White Heather Club- the first-ever known women's cricket club was formed in 1887 in Yorkshire, meaning that women have also been playing this sport, but looking at today's women's cricket game, it feels like people are still not accepting women's cricket as equal to men's cricket. And how will they, when the authorities are the originator of this bias. Any game has its own rules, and that is what makes it fun, but what if the rules differ based on your gender? That would be upsetting. Women's Test Cricket matches and Men's Test Cricket matches have different rules and regulations.
Men's test cricket has 8 to 10 matches in a single year, whereas women's test cricket matches are very few. The year 2021 was the first time in the last 14 years when Indian and Australian women's cricket teams got to play two test matches in the same year. And you know what they called it? 'Pink Ball Test' is a known fact that in the daytime, cricketers use a pink ball but calling the women's test cricket match a pink ball test seemed intentional.
While we're at it, there are some other major differences between the women’s test cricket match rules and men’s test cricket match rules.
- The size of the ball is different, it should be a minimum of 142 when it comes to women test matches, but the number goes up to 148 when it comes to men's test cricket.
- The boundary ropes from the center of the pitch have to be a minimum of 55 and a maximum of 64 meters in women’s test cricket matches and this increases to 59 and 82 meters, respectively. Now, as you have guessed correctly, the smaller numbers are for women test matches, and the bigger numbers are for men's test matches, and this is probably a reason why most women players get run out all the time. While the run-out rate in men’s test matches is half the number of women’s test cricket.
- The number of test matches amongst the women's team lasts not more than up to four days, but on the other hand, men play for five days.
- In women test matches, they must bowl at an average of 100 overs a day, but men's test matches are expected to play a minimum of 90 overs daily.
- Also, a Decision Review System allows a player to use it whenever HE - a male player is not convinced with a decision. On the other hand, in the women's test cricket match, the Decision Review System is not used; instead, when there is doubt, the on-field umpires have the liberty to consult the third umpire.
- There is a difference in penalty timings for players for staying out of the field, in women’s cricket it is 110, and for men, it is 120 minutes.
A dilemma faced by every woman
- Seeing all these differences, one can see that these rules are baseless. Apart from the cricket authority, sports and news channels also add to this discrimination. Many sports channels will show highlights of men's cricket matches repeatedly, but they refrain from showing a LIVE women's cricket match. The same behavior is seen in news channels where they do not give proper space to women-related sports news, especially women's cricket.
- Letting girls play a sport like cricket is not the question for most girls. They face restrictions from their parents. They make excuses that being a girl, you are fragile, and you might get hurt, or if you get tanned in the sun, and what if nobody marries you; what if you get rejected? There are no other girls who would play cricket with you, you will have to play with other boys, what if boys touched you inappropriately while playing if you receive any injury on your face or body? Who would marry you? Every girl who dared to ask her parents to play cricket must have faced all these questions. They were flooded with lame excuses not to play.
Promoting women in sports
- The women’s test cricket rules should be the same, and the rules to play cricket should be the same no matter the gender of the player. This will make women's test cricket interesting and also bring a sense of equality. Women's Test cricket matches should also be encouraged and promoted like men's test cricket. This will increase the viewership of women's cricket, and more females will try to build their careers in this so-called "male-dominated" sport. Yes, both the genders have different physical strengths but is this only valid for cricket? What about Tennis? Or Badminton? Because these two were not dominant male sports from the very beginning. We need to play fair when it comes to cricket. Bollywood has also started making movies and web series on women’s cricket, like ‘Dil Bole Hadippa!’ where a female who plays better than men wants to join a professional cricket team but is suppressed because she is a girl, therefore she disguises as a man and follows her dreams to become a national level player. This movie represents the unfair gender bias that is seen in real-life cricket. Also, movies like ‘Not Out’ and Netflix’s movie, a biopic on the talented women cricket player from Kolkata, Jhulan Goswami, starring Anushka Sharma. These kinds of eye-opening movies actually show the real-life struggle faced by women players.
How can we cause a change?
- The conditions have been improving over the past decade, major women cricket players like Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jhulan Goswami, Jemimah Rodrigues, and many more have taken women's cricket to new heights. Young girls and women see them as their role models and have dared to come out and play.
- Sports Channels, news channels, and parents should encourage women and younger girls to play this beautiful sport. Proper funding should be given for their preparations, good guidance, positive attitude, and most importantly, support from their loved ones because nothing breaks a sportsperson more when they face a lack of support from their loved ones and fans.
- As a cricket fan, you should support women's cricket as much as men's. And your motivation is what matters to a player.
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