Bowled over by Mithali Raj & Co’s show, city girls bat for cricket
India might have lost the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup to England, but their spirited showing has inspired these two sisters to take up the sport.cricket Updated: Jul 27, 2017 09:40 IST
For sisters Manya and Siddhi Mishra, getting new cricket bats was as exciting as the BMW car would have been for captain Mithali Raj after Team India’s second place finish at the ICC Women’s World Cup in England last week.
After Team India’s stellar performance in the World Cup, the two sisters got new cricket bats as gift from their father.
“Though I was suffering from fever, I didn’t miss a single moment of the final match. Despite the loss, the thrill of the match was enough to boost our confidence and take the game more seriously. It inspired us to grow up like Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur,” Manya told HT on Wednesday.
Unlike other children, who spend their leisure time watching cartoons or playing with electronic gadgets, Mishra sisters opted for cricket about six months back.
Even after gruelling school hours, the girls seldom feel lethargic to go for cricket practice at the LDA Stadium in Aliganj.
“Mithali Raj & Co has raised the hopes of millions of Indian girls who now want to take up cricket as a career. As a parent I believe I should let my daughters do whatever they want to even if it is at the cost of their studies,” said Rishi Mishra, father of Manya and Siddhi.
“I got new bats for my daughters as it was a big occasion for the country. I wanted to make the moment memorable and inspirational for them,” he added. “I have put my daughters in training with the boys. I want them to be strong enough to even challenge the boys,” Mishra added.
So far as support to women’s cricket in Lucknow is concerned, it is quite poor as women cricketers do not have dedicated training facilities even though the UP sports directorate has four stadiums, including two mini-stadiums.
Cricket Association Lucknow (CAL) does not give much importance to women’s cricket. During CAL’s annual function, which took place after a gap of 10 years early this month, women cricketer of the year Shivangi Raj was given Rs 11,000 while the male player of year in Under-16 category was given Rs 31,000.
Why this disparity at a time when the BCCI and all its units, including the CAL, have adopted women’s cricket at par with men’s? “It was a mistake on our part. Shivangi should also have been given a similar honour,” accepted CAL’s acting secretary Gopal Singh. “I promise this will not happen in future and women cricketers will be given equal respect,” he said.
Singh claimed CAL would soon come out with an elaborate plan for women cricketers which would include regular matches and tournaments.
Lucknow’s Priyanka Shalley, who led India A against West Indies in a match in 2004, said the performance of Indian women at the World Cup would also encourage Lucknow girls.
“We need to have a permanent place for regular training of women cricketers. Training of 30-40 Lucknow girls gets mismanaged,” said Priyanka, who captained UP team in the board trophy matches for seven years till 2014.
“Girls also need professional training and atmosphere to grow as there is no dearth of talent. A couple of players from Lucknow are in UP teams but the number may increase if talented players are protected and nurtured properly,” Priyanka said.
She added even cities like Gorakhpur, Deoria and Mau had 60-70 women cricketers doing routine training. “CAL should come up with a plan to encourage parents to send their daughters for training,” she said.