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Bollywood actors, male cricketers give the finals of Women’s World Cup a miss, youngsters react

Though social media was abuzz with support for Mithali Raj and her team, as they played in the finals of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, not a single male Indian cricketer turned up at Lords to cheer for them. Even Bollywood celebs were conspicuous by their absence at this world-class match. Cricket fans, along with senior cricketer, Shanta Rangaswamy react to this.

more lifestyle Updated: Jul 24, 2017 20:09 IST
Nabanita Das
Nabanita Das
Hindustan Times
Mithali Raj,Indian Women’s Cricket Team,Cricket
Indian skipper Mithali Raj during a press conference. (Reuters/John Sibley)

New Delhi

After the Indian Women’s Cricket team played the finals at the World Cup, yesterday, the nation has finally taken notice of the women’s team of a game, that is considered a religion in India. While captain Mithali Raj and her girls got an overwhelming support for their feat on social media from the common Indian, celebs, including cricketers of the Indian men’s side and Bollywood actors, remained conspicuous by their absence. Besides ex-cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Virat Kohli, the captain of the Indian men’s side, no other cricketer even wrote in support of the girls on social media. Not a single cricketer - present or past - was there at the stands at Lords in England, to cheer the Women in Blue.

For a World Cup final of the Indian men’s cricket team, spotting Bollywood celebrities is a common sight, but yesterday, apart from actor Akshay Kumar, none from the glamour world was seem at the stands. And except for a handful of actors like Anupam Kher, Abhishek Bachchan, Huma Qureshi and Rahul Bose, none seemed interested in wishing them on social media either. But, senior player, Shanta Rangaswamy is not ready to whine. For her, the change has come and one should try to embrace it. “From Kohli to Laxman, everyone has come out in their support. Even the Prime Minister has tweeted and that is the biggest thing. One needn’t be there to clap for them. Look at the phenomenal impact this world cup has had. Though we lost the cup by a whisker, we can take away a lot of positives from the game. But the real onus is now on BCCI to take this momentum forward.”

The change has definitely arrived, feels a cricket fanatic, Mitali Chakraborty, a young Delhiite who works with a leading publishing house. She not only watched the game, but also posted on several social media groups that she is a member of, to promote and inspire people to watch it. A part of the publishing industry, Mitali says that publishers are even keen to come out with a book on Mithali Raj, the skipper of Indian Women’s Cricket team. “We have to accept the fact that it’s a patriarchal country and a lot of chauvinism still exists. However, I really like the fact that things are changing. You can’t expect things to change overnight. This time, people were serious about the game and several Indians have been following the performance of the women players. The fact that Mithali read Rumi before the match was also shared on social media. There is definite interest.”

Similar emotions were voiced by Debjoy Mitra, an architect by profession, who confesses that though he did not follow all of India’s matches in the world cup, but he did watch the final match, in a show of solidarity to the team. “I think, as far as skill sets are concerned, the women’s team is at par with their male counterpart, but this adulation shouldn’t be a one off thing. In terms of facilities and media attention, they should be treated equally.”

Some however feel that the actual presence of male cricketers would have been a good gesture. “Being a part of the match in person would have definitely boosted the morale of the girls, but I think everyone back home came out in full support even after the team lost the match, and that is a big thing,” says Somasree Basu, a communications professional.

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First Published: Jul 24, 2017 20:09 IST

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