Mithali Raj: Decision of equal pay reflects that women’s cricket is now a sustainable career
Former India woman cricketer Mithali Raj opens up about the changing world of women’s cricket, and the way forward
Former India woman cricketer Mithali Raj is really happy about BCCI’s landmark decision of equal match fee for centrally contracted men and women cricketers, and feels it will pave way for equality in the world of cricket, making people show confidence in women’s cricket as a career option.
Recently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ended the long-existing ‘pay parity’ debate by announcing that all its women and men cricketers falling under the central contract will be financially acknowledged without any bias.
“All these organisations and the board members are making great efforts to get women cricket or to make the women’s team of the nation equal. This decision of the BCCI is a landmark one, and it can be a great example just not for the other girls in the field, but other federation’s can also take a cue from it,” Raj tells us.
The 39-year-old adds, “And work towards improving women’s sports in general by giving them the right opportunity, resources and facilities”.
The former cricketer, who recently made her commentating debut on Star Sports for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, feels the decision paves way for equality.
“In some way, it is a great decision because it reflects that women’s cricket on its own is now a sustainable career. Parents can now allow the girls to take up this profession, earlier there was no money… In the past five years, since 2017, one can see that women’s cricket has grown not just in terms of standards, but also viewership and the amount of people who are keen to follow women cricket. Women’s cricket has its own fan base. The graph of women is definitely on the rise”.
In fact, she is happy to see the world of cricket become inclusive not just on the field but behind the camera also. “When it comes to broadcasting of matches or commentating, a lot many times you see men around during the expert comment section or analysis. Now, it is very refreshing to see many women work behind the stage as well… Having these women around brings comfort and confidence in the atmosphere,” she says, adding that her experience as commentator was very enriching.
Opening up about India’s performance at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Raj feels the strategy didn’t work in favour of the team blue.
“Our team has been very good in the league. But you can’t have the same template when getting into the knockout… I think India could have had something else in terms of the strategies during the knockout. Maybe one or two strategies which were different from what they did in the group stage. What worked for group stage doesn’t mean it will work for knockout as well,” she says while wrapping up.