Don’t Compare Us With Male Cricketers: Mithali Raj
The ICC Women’s World Cup is just round the corner. However, the comparison between men’s and women’s team is always there.
At the pre-event dinner on Wednesday, June 21, when Indian Captain Mithali Raj was having a gala time with the team, a mediaperson asked her who her favourite male cricketer was between India and Pakistan. In response, she made it crystal clear that female cricketers should not be compared with their male counterparts, but should be respected equally. Her snappy reply was lauded by many attending the event.
“Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” Raj questioned the journalist. “I have always been asked who’s your favourite cricketer, but you should ask them who their favourite female cricketer is.”
In a country where Indian women cricketers have proved their mettle, they still face questions like this that make them embarrassed.
“There’s a lot of difference because we are not a regular on television. Now, the BCCI has made an effort — 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,” she explained.
Currently, the captain is on a roll in the warm-up games, scoring 85 that led the Indian women to beat Sri Lanka by 109 runs.
Despite that, the team has faced enough discrimination as in India, our male cricketers still reign supreme. For example, another remarkable player, Harmanpreet Kaur, set the record of becoming the first cricketer from the country — male or female — to play in Australia’s Big Bash League. But is she a household name? Not quite…
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Earlier this year, Tushar Arothe replaced Purnima Rau as the Indian women’s coach. Raj admitted that since Arothe took charge, the team has improved under his guidance.
“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.
“All of us at some point have been coached by a male cricketer. I strongly believe that they get a lot of intensity into the training sessions. They are very hard taskmasters. I believe that if you are representing your country, your country should get the best of the best. It’s nothing to do with women coaches [who] don’t have the ability, they do. But if you really want to push the team to the highest level, you need to have somebody who is a tough taskmaster so that the girls really put in the intensity in their training sessions and they carry that into the main tournaments,” she added.
It is high time that the inequality fades away and all of us start acknowledging true achievements, regardless of gender.
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