The unshakeable return of women’s cricket

By Fizza Abid - September 18, 2020

With a record-breaking attendance of 86,000 spectators and TV viewership, the final of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup took women’s cricket to new heights. However, the momentum of women’s cricket seemed pretty risky and uncertain with the emergence of COVID-19.

Keeping in focus the financial health of the organization, all cricket boards started prioritizing men’s cricket which caused worry that the women’s game will go back to the early development phase. The momentum and buzz created by the women’s T-20 world cup final started to blur out, which was further damaged by the postponement of the Hundred that was to be the main income source for women cricketers. This was followed up by postponements of several women series between different countries and with ICC’s decision to postpone the ICC Women’s World Cup which was to be held in 2021 in New Zealand.

Despite all this, majority of the cricket boards continued to help women cricketers with mentoring sessions and financial help. However, ECB’s Managing Director and a great role model, Clare Connor has been instrumental in bringing women’s cricket back especially with the inaugural Rachel Heyhoe Flint trophy.

This trophy has tremendous importance, mainly because it brings back women’s cricket post COVID-19 crisis and also because it is named after a game-changer who strived for women’s cricket development, won the first world cup in 1973, helped women cricket’s inclusion in MCC and most importantly was part of the ECB board that approved the Kia Super League in 2017.

This trophy will be a great example of how the role models should be valued and also inspire the upcoming players to play the sport by considering the hard work leaders like Rachael Heyhoe have performed.

Moreover, with the launch of Beyond the Boundary, a 59 minutes short documentary, fans of cricket and other viewers get a glimpse into the thrilling highlights of, and a glittering event: the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. A first of its kind for women’s cricket, this documentary consists of all original content by ICC and was released on the biggest streaming platform: Netflix. The viewers get a look into the real behind-the-scenes moments, clipped interviews with the players, high and low moments of players during the matches, before and after match moments, match highlights and importantly the joyous affair the final of the WT20 was. Played in the hub of cricket: Australia, the occasion has surely been a game-changer for women’s cricket. The importance of this documentary is indeed immense.

Additionally, it helps the viewers see the standard women’s cricket has attained over the last few years and has now become an entertaining sport which was always a concern for investors, broadcasters and sponsors.

ECB’s Managing Director and a great role model, Clare Connor has been instrumental in bringing women’s cricket back especially with the inaugural Rachel Heyhoe Flint trophy

With several games won narrowly, the energetic participation of the Thailand Team that brought immense passion, positivity, and confidence into the game, considering that it was their first-ever world cup, women’s cricket is on its way to being a promising product and not a developing sport anymore. This documentary is a breath of fresh air and a close-up insight to role models like Meg Lanning, Elyse Perry, Harmanpreet Kaur, and more to inspire girls to take up the sport.

Furthermore, it is also a major source for all involved in women’s cricket to get back and work harder. Additionally, with the likes of Katy Perry entertaining during the major event, it boosts women empowerment and global reach of the game. Much credit goes to ICC, the documentary producers, directors, boards, and majorly the players who have worked so hard to make the game what it is today.

In those 59 minutes, you will be immersed in a magical journey that will only make you wish that women’s cricket gets on a roll again. And it surely seems that it will as the ECB just announced a series with the West Indies women’s team which will be simulcast live on BBC and SkySports for the very first time since the 1993 Women’s World Cup final. This is surely a strong comeback for women’s cricket and assuredly there is no stopping it now.

By Fizza Abid

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