|Posted on 15 August, 2017 at 2:30|
I recently wrote a piece for www.sportshounds.com.au where I provided my thoughts on Women's Cricket (WC) prior to the semi finals of Australia's ICC World Cup Semi Finals v India.
I wrote "Unfortunately their batting capabilities far out-weigh the bowling. In fact it’s a no-contest and that is the dilemma facing women’s cricket now and into the future".
A few hours later 'Harmanpreet Kaur" proved how right I was... Kaur destroyed the Australian Bowling attack hitting 171 off 115 balls...her last 100 runs came from 40 deliveries.
Since that time I've been reading comments made by Australian WC Cricketer "Ellyse Perry" who says, "We should not compare her sport to that of men's cricket and that it is time to celebrate the female version of the sport in its own right" and that we should appreciate it as we do "Women's Tennis".
Hang on Ellyse, is women's cricket paying for itself or is it relying on funds from the men's game to develop it?
Don't get me wrong, as a Cricket Bat Willow grower... it's in my interests that WC develops and makes the grade as a sport. Obviously the more girls who take up the game and want to buy cricket bats the better it is for the industry.
But right now I am sure that WC is getting to ahead of itself especially by comparing their cricket to the successful sport of women's tennis. A sport played all over the world by women and enjoyed as a specticle all over the world by both genders.
Tennis offers great entertainment, it's non stop athleticism, skill and intrigue leaves little doubt that you are watching a disciplined sport played by women and that provideds great drawing power.
WC also has its disciplines, many in fact and batting is one of them. But do not forget bowling and fielding with interconnecting disciplines... pace, swing, off spin & leg spin, slips fielding, in field & out fielding and I don't need to tell you that cricket is played over a longer period of time.
For WC to improve to the standard they'd like... then accepting advice or criticism is the way forward. Their game needs to improve in many areas and I am not going to worry about feelings here when I say... people tell me that they dislike WC because the girls look like pint size men running about the field. If you like, compare that to tennis, hockey, softball, netball... or womens athletics and makes it an easy fix in my opinion, so why not just design a more suitable and flattering uniform?
Ultimately success will be determined by the public... Ellyse Perry and co can hope for acceptence but telling the public they must do so will not play out if the game is not paying for itself.
The other observation on how the WC game can be improved is in the bowling department... the lack of pace means the abilities of players go untested.
Cricket’s greatest attribute is an even battle between bat and ball, otherwise the games loses its edge as a contest along with interest, worth and more importantly followers.
Obviously there is a limit to how much pace and venom WC can generate with their smaller physiques but I feel improvment can be made simply by shorten the length of the pitch by 1.82 yards bringing the bowlers into the game.
The equation for this might be as follows: (160kph ÷ 22 yards) - (120kph ÷ 22 yards) and with the use of a smaller 4 piece ball at 142 grams it will benefit the game similar to womens tennis 3 setts compared to 5 for men or women’s track and field for example, where lighter javelins or discusses are launched great distances, giving spectators an entertaining spectacle.
This in my opinion will raise WC to new levels for without pace to hurry stroke play or generate bounce and carry the game will miss the spectacle of white-hot slips catches and greater contests between bat and ball... without this the women’s game will aways fall short of what it could be... never quite qualify as a great spectator and team sport.