The journey of test matches in Women’s cricket began at Hale school cricket ground in Perth in January 1977. Shantha Rangaswamy’s team India faced a strong Australian lineup led by Margaret Jennings. This was the first ever Women’s test match between the two countries which the hosts won by 147 runs.
Now after almost 47 years, Harmanpreet Kaur led team India wrote history at Mumbai’s iconic Wankhede stadium when they thrashed the Australian team by 8 wickets. This was India’s first win over Australia in 11 Tests.
There has been a huge change in the women’s team geographical base over the past several years. Majority of the players in the 1970’s team of Rangaswamy came from cosmopolitan India: Chennai, Bombay, Calcutta, Poona.
Those running cricket academies in Taj town told this reporter in 2018 how the number of aspiring girl cricketers has grown, how more and more girls, even from smaller towns, are participating in junior trials, and that most aspirants come from middle and lower middle-class homes. Our new generation of women Test cricketers come from different places and the places where these new generations of girls are born and bred has changed dramatically.
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Women’s Cricket On the Rise
Current captain Harmanpreet Kaur comes from small town Moga in Punjab. During her childhood days, she played alongside boys because girls didn’t play cricket. Similar experience was shared by Dynamic Opener Shafali Verma from Rohtak. She cut her hair short to look like a boy, because some boys didn’t want to play with a girl.
Left handed opener Smriti Mandhana comes from Sangli in south Maharashtra.Star allrounder Deepti Sharma learnt her cricket in Agra.Renuka Singh hails from Shimla. Wicket keeper Richa Ghosh comes from Siliguri, Bengal.Sneh Rana was born in Dehradun andPooja Vastrakar, who contributed heavily in India’s victory with five wickets and 47 runs hails from the hilly and forested district of Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh. Together these players explain the talent pool in India.
Since the Women’s premier league is growing, cricket is likely to be seen as a more important avenue of upward economic and social mobility which is good news for the growth of women’s cricket in India