It's not hard to see why the manager of the Indian women's team, Diana Eduljee, the former India cricketer, made a point about the step-motherly treatment her team has endured at the World T20. “It feels nice to see all of you here, attending the press conference. My phone's been ringing ever since we made it to the last four and the men crashed out,” Eduljee said.
That the women have suddenly found themselves in the spotlight might have been more to do with the shortcomings of Dhoni's side than their own prowess, but the fact that they are two wins away from being world champions in the World T20.
On the eve of their semifinal against New Zealand, the Indian skipper, Jhulan Goswami said her team was looking to go a step ahead from their semifinal finish at the last 50-over World Cup in Australia earlier this year.
“We didn't play to our potential in Australia. We wanted to win the Cup, not finish third. However, we are lucky that we have the chance to play the World T20, make sure not to repeat the mistakes and win the Cup,” Goswami said.
This is the first time the women's World Cup is being held simultaneously as the men's, something Goswami said, would help the women's game. “It's a big thing for women's cricket that the match will be played before the men's semifinal. It's a nice way to promote women's cricket. That the game will be telecast live is a boon.
“Our friends and family will be able to watch us and that will be an inspiration for us. The players are excited. Hopefully, we will be able to draw youngsters to women's cricket,” Goswami said.
New Zealand finished second to England in the World Cup and look a stronger team to the Indians, Goswami, however, was confident of her team's ability. “The shorter the format, the better the chances for an upset. In a T20 game, it all boils down to who plays well on that particular day,” Goswami said. “We have played New Zealand in a warm-up game before the tournament, so we know their strengths and weaknesses.
“Our batswomen are natural strokemakers, so if they can complement the big shots with singles and twos, it will be good for the team.” The enormity of the occasion, Goswami was confident, would not get to her players once they take the field at Trent Bridge on Thursday. “Our league games were not broadcast while the semi final will be. We will play in front of a big crowd, and the players are excited about it.”
It will be a big game in a big tournament for the women, and hopefully, the Indian women will end up on top.