Will WCAI ever wake up from their slumber?

Written by: Shantha Rangaswamy
Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2000, 15:40 [IST]
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An interesting piece of information was furnished in the July 1995 issue of "The Cricketer", giving a review of the game on the 250th anniversary of women's cricket. The issue mentions the first recorded match played on 26th July 1745 when "eleven maids from Hambleton won against the eleven maids from Bramley" at Gosden Common near Guildford. Women played cricket at village and county level in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

There is little reference to women's cricket in most general sources on cricket and the history of the game. Perhaps this lacuna accounts for the myth that women have only taken up the game in more recent times. Even more recent events that are not widely known for instance, the women held their First World Cup in 1973 whereas the Prudential Cup for men was played in 1975.

The game started in India officially in 1973 even though Albees Club in Bombay and Falcons Club in Bangalore had started playing the game even before the Women's Cricket Association of India (WCAI) was founded in 1973 by an enterprising young man named Mahendra Kumar Sharma. He is the founder secretary of WCAI and the best we have had so far in 27 years of the game.

The game reached its peak in the late seventies and the Indian team played in front of big crowds in Calcutta and Patna with places like Bangalore, Chennai and Pune not lagging far behind. Such was the interest created by the pioneers on whose performances hinged the future of the game. That the game carved for itself a permanent niche in Indian sports is due to the early lot of players and M K Sharma.

Records and statistics are not available

But till date, the WCAI has not bothered to build up records or statistics. In any event organised in the country, senior players are consulted to get the details of the championships. The most disappointing aspect of women's cricket is the non-availability of these statistics. While most players have their own statistics based on newspaper clippings/ scrap book, there is utter confusion as to the records created.

As an after thought, it has come to light that some of the series played in India have not been treated as "official" Tests but are reckoned as "unofficial". However it is not officially confirmed by WCAI as to the status of each of the series played from 1975 onwards. It is high time that WCAI comes out with a statement giving the details and starts the exercise of collecting and publishing the statistics of the official and unofficial tests played by India thus far.

Read more about: cricket, wcai, bangalore, hambleton, sports, pakistan
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