It all looked rosy when the Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI) merged with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) last October. But the real situation today is that the Board still does not seem to have got the hang of the women’s game in the country, and junior cricketers are suffering as a result.
Every year, in women's cricket, by mid-February the inter-state, Nationals, Under-19, and Indira Priyadarshani (not conducted last year) tournaments are held. This time, none of these events have taken place, including the Twenty20.
The BCCI, which has only conducted the Asia Cup and inter-state till now, does not have a single junior level tournament in its calendar and will be only looking after the senior events this year.
“Normally by this time of the year, many tournaments are held for the juniors. This year (2006-07) not a single junior event has been conducted by the Board,” said Hardeep Dua, executive member of the WCAI.
“The BCCI was supposed to take women’s cricket a step forward by making it strong at the grass-root level. Now, the young girls who played many junior level domestic matches are suffering,” added Dua.
What is even more surprising is the BCCI’s excuse — 'lack of time' for not holding these events. Surely, these tournaments would have strengthened women’s cricket in the country.
“The Board took over the activities of women's cricket last October and soon after we were busy with Asia Cup,” BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said from Mumbai. “We had no time to look after junior cricket and only senior tournaments are going to be looked after this year.”
“It was difficult for us to manage a junior calendar parallel to the senior one. We’ll have a full-fledged one next year,” said Shetty.
Asked if the WCAI’s involvement was necessary here — they have done a good job at the grassroot level despite facing the financial crunch, Shetty was non-committal. “We are an autonomous body and we will function according to our plans.”
Emai Deepika Sharma: firstname.lastname@example.org