SPO_220729 AUSTRALIA ANIS-1659116826601
Australia's Ashleigh Gardner celebrates after reaching her half-century during the women's T20 preliminary round match against India in Birmingham on Friday. Image Credit: AP

Whenever India plays a cricket game, all eyes are glued to the game and this time the Indian women are playing their first game against the Aussies in the Commonwealth Games.

India, batting first, have had put a decent total of 154, thanks to Shafali Varma and their skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who scored a unbeaten half century. Renuka Singh Thakur, India’s opening fast bowler, had put the Aussie woman on the mat by picking the first four wickets and Australia were struggling at 34/4 with the big guns like Alyssa Healy and their skipper Meg Lanning back in the hut. But even an optimistic Indian fan would never rule out an Australian win and that’s what happened. The Australians won the game thanks to Ashleigh Gardner and Grace Harris with an over to spare.

Great escape

Some will call it as the great escape but the Aussie woman are known to produce such type of performance time and again. No wonder they are five-time T20 World Cup champions and seven-time 50-over World Cup title holders. But what sets the Australian women apart from the other cricket teams. What do they do differently that makes them champions in almost every tournament they play?

This Australian women’s side has been imposing for years and has maintained the consistency year after year. Results don’t come your way unless it is backed by the board and there is no doubt that the Australian women’s cricket is backed by their board and given utmost importance just like men’s cricket. They compete in the Women’s Big Bash tournament every year, which plays a huge role in the confidence of their players as they rub shoulders with other woman’s players. It’s same for them as for the Indian men’s team playing the Indian Premier League (IPL) as you can see India’s bench strength is coming from playing the IPL.

Importance to women's cricket

Most importantly they have had the advantage of having the best of head coach to guide the women’s team in Mathew Mott, who was coaching them from 2015 successfully and is now the head of England’s white ball team. In fact, Mott was even interviewed as a candidate to become Australias men’s head coach. That shows the importance the women’s cricket is given in Australia and the results are there to be seen. Alyssa Healy, who is Australia’s wicketkeeper and wife of Michael Starc, gets the support of the Australian pacer whenever he is not on Australian duty.

All these have enabled Australia to build a strong foundation and the team, captained by Meg Lanning, are the favourites to win the gold in the Commonwealth Games and rest will be only fighting for the silver and bronze medals. They might lose an odd game, as they did to India in the opening game in the 2020 T20 World Cup, but the hosts came back to hammer the Indians in the final played in front of 100,000 fans at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

It’s high time BCCI gives as much importance to the women’s cricket as the men. The talent is there but unless properly groomed it won’t show the desired results. India came close to winning on a few occasions, but the trophy has eluded them. Sania Nehwal, PV Sidhu and Sania Mirza have brought glory to woman’s sports in badminton and tennis respectively. Imagine Indian women winning the World Cup like the men in 1983, a second revolution would come in a country which eats, sleeps and breathes cricket.