Popularity Versus Quality Cricket

Tokelo Martin Mokhesi
04 Apr 2018
Popularity Versus Quality Cricket Popularity Versus Quality Cricket

Chloe Tryon displays her power. © ICC

Women’s Cricket has been played internationally for over 80 years now. The Internation Cricket Council and various Cricket boards such as Cricket Australia are making an effort to build the profile of the women’s game and improve its standards.


Is the ICC focusing on the T20 format, having women play with a lighter and small ball as well as pulling in the boundary ropes in women’s matches to encourage power hitting the right move?

The ICC Gender Recognition Policy states that men have a significant advantage in size, strength and power over females from puberty onwards (due in large part to much higher levels of androgenic hormones), and the impact of such advantages can have on sporting performance.

Over the years we have seen women cricketers who can strike a cricket ball a long way come through. Chloe Tryon of the Momentum Proteas is one of them.

Recently when the Indian women’s side toured South Africa, she played a couple of impressive knocks including a breath-taking knock of 32 not out of just 7 balls, clearing the boundary with ease at a strike rate of 457.14 which is the highest for a women's or men's T20 international score of 25+ runs.

Tryon’s knock, the 2017 Women’s World Cup and the Australian Women’s Big Bash League have proved that women are capable of clearing the men’s boundary and hitting the ball out of the park with power and pure timing.


Pulling in the boundary rope hinders Women's Cricket

The change boundary stalls the progress of women’s cricket. Players have to adjust and change their approach. A boundary of 50.29 metres (ICC’s requirements in women’s games) eliminates the need for good running between the wickets.

This was evident in the Momentum Proteas Women versus Indian Women's game and in last year’s world cup where players hardly run twos and threes. Playing smart cricket is out of the equation with a shortened boundary rope.

The bowlers are the most affected players as a short boundary is in favour of the batswoman, the batter can just top edge the ball for a six and to add to the bowlers’ misery cricket bat manufacturers are creating much lighter willows.


Develop the women's game in schools
"The game needs to be developed in schools a lot, more funding needs to be poured into developing girls cricket. Cricket South Africa should create a professional women's league and allow professional players to play as many games as possible to the competitive. Women's teams play only five games the whole season in South Africa, which is not enough. At the development level, we try to play as many games as possible'', said Lebo Matlhakola,Gauteng Provincial Under 13 Girls cricket assistant coach.


Power hitting encouraged

A focus on T20 cricket and predominantly power hitting are like setting up women cricketers for failure. In the long run, women will struggle in the longer formats of the game: ODI and Test cricket.

Test cricket demands stamina, temperament, a proper batting technique, high levels of concentration, composure and so forth. In T20 Cricket batswomen are not challenged to think critically, occupy the crease for a long period. Is all about swinging the bat as hard as you can.

A proper batting technique is not necessarily a requirement. The name of the game is ‘see ball hit ball’. The ICC doesn’t see the importance of quality over quantity. The integrity of cricket is in question because of T20 cricket. Cricket Australia is promoting the women’s game. The Women ‘s Big Bash League is the best Women’s league in the world, fans come in large numbers.

The 2017 Women’s World Cup generated a lot of spectators, from social media, sponsorship, broadcasting. Only if the women’s game can have that on a regular basis. Marketing of the women's cricket is key. Women should play more often. Broadcasters should play a role. That’s how the players' profiles will shot up.

The lack of sponsorship is an issue, women in sport deserve support. The problem isn’t in the way women play, but it is discrimination.
Read the Next Article