'Were told they couldn't get food, had samosas for breakfast': Vinod Rai reveals issues women's team faced in 2017 WC
Vinod Rai revealed that his only regret during his tenure was that he did not pay enough attention to women's cricket, making the most saddening revelation
Vinod Rai served as the head of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The 33-months stint that lasted between 2017 and 2019 witnessed one of the most controversial incident in Indian cricket - the Anil Kumble-Virat Kohli saga - which he has discussed an talked about at length in his new book 'Not Just A Nightwatchman. However, there was an equally bigger revelation that he made his book which highlights the sad state of women's cricket in India.
Speaking to the The Week about his book, Vinod revealed that his only regret during his tenure was that he did not pay enough attention to women's cricket, making the most saddening revelation that earlier jerseys used by women cricketers were actually re-stitched from men's jerseys.
I do not think women’s cricket has been given the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, women cricketers had not been taken seriously till about 2006, when Mr [Sharad] Pawar took the initiative to merge the men’s and women’s association. I was aghast to know that men’s uniforms were being cut up and re-stitched for women’s players. I had to ring up Nike and tell them that this was not on and that their design would be different," he said.
"I sincerely believe the girls deserved much better [when it came to] training, coaching facilities, cricketing gear, travel facilities and, finally, match fees and retainers. That was lacking and we tried to rectify it," he added.
He further revealed the difficulties that the team faced during the 2017 World Cup when the Indian team had reached the final. Vinod admitted that it only after Harmanpreet Kaur's record-breaking 171 that attentions was given to the women's sport.
"My regret was that I had not given due attention to women’s cricket till the match in which Harmanpreet [Kaur] scored 171* in the 2017 Women’s World Cup [against Australia]. She told me: “Sir, I was cramping so I had to hit sixes as I could not run much!” They were told at the hotel that they could not get the food they were supposed to, so they had samosas for breakfast that morning!"