Cricket is the national lingo and men’s cricket enjoys a humongous following and exalted status in the country. Male cricketers are part of the Indian pantheon of sporting Gods. Nobody grudges the ‘boys in blue’ as they are called, never mind that some of these ‘boys’ are in their 30s, but the cricket officials now stands accused to discrimination of the highest order.
The women’s cricket team, usually relegated to second grade in terms of treatment, pay and conditions finds itself in a depressingly familiar scenario even as it prepares for the Women’s World Cup from January 31 to February 17. Yesterday, even as the women’s team played a practice match at the Bombay Gymkhana, one heard that the team was put up in a sub-standard hotel.
Talk about rubbing salt into wounds. This was after a game between India and the West Indies (January 31) at the Wankhede Stadium was then shifted to accommodate the Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Saurashtra from January 26.
“We feel ashamed at the way we are treated. We are put up at a hotel where the Mumbai Cricket Association officials are usually put up. Also there are no proper food arrangements for us. Will they ever treat the men’s cricket team the way they treat us? They have even shifted a World Cup match out of Wankhede to accommodate a Ranji Trophy final. Is the Ranji Trophy bigger than a World Cup? People like to make claims about us being equal to men. But male chauvinism will never go from our country. We are playing for the love of the game,” said an Indian squad member, bitterly. Howzatt for some hard talk?