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Women's cricket is being ruined: Diana Edulji

Former India women’s captain Diana Edulji has slammed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for discriminatory treatment to women cricketers and also said the Board is not interested in running women’s cricket.

Diana Edulji
Diana Edulji

“The BCCI is running women’s cricket because they have to run it, because the ICC is now running both men’s and women’s cricket,” Edulji told ESPN Cricinfo. “Otherwise, there is no women’s cricket. They cannot play under any other banner. I would say it is an insult to women’s cricket to be treated this way.”

Edulji, who was on the BCCI’s women’s committee, blasted the game’s administrators for gender bias. The Indian women’s cricket team was put up in a budget hotel before being shifted to a five-star hotel a few days before the ICC Women’s World Cup.

“I was driving and on Marine Drive I saw this whole bunch of red t-shirts coming. I realised it was the India Women team,” Edulji said. “They were walking from Sea Green (the hotel) to the Wankhede (Stadium). I stopped my car, and the way they greeted me, I felt nice, but I also felt that this is the Indian national team, and they are walking on the street?

“And where are they playing? Police Gymkhana, Hindu Gymkhana, Bombay Gymkhana? Would any men cricketers play there?” The BCCI took women’s cricket under its wings in 2006 as per the International Cricket Council’s guidelines. But the bubble has burst, according to Edulji. “Initially everybody was happy with the merger in 2006, when we requested Mr Sharad Pawar, who was then the president of the board.

(After the merger), domestic players started getting more money, they travelled better, stayed in good hotels and got good grounds to play on. But I think that was just the beginning, and that was it. It was a dream, and then the bubble burst,” she said.

“Where are the photos of the women’s team captains in the BCCI office? Why are there only photos of male cricketers? There was not a single ladies’ toilet in the old BCCI office till I went and fought for it,” she added.

Edulji revealed that BCCI president N Srinivasan refused to extend the one-time benefit scheme to women cricketers. “Srinivasan has just refused. What have we asked for? We are not asking to be paid at the same level as men’s cricket. All we have asked is that women cricketers who have played between one and 10 Test matches should get Rs 10 lakh; those who have played between 10 and 20 Tests can get Rs 20 lakh.

“But when Mr Srinivasan took over as president of the board, he said, ‘Why should we give you money? What have you all done?’ ”. Edulji wants the BCCI’s discriminatory attitude to change. “When I went as manager for the England tour in 2009, it was cold and we had no warm clothing. I rang up Nike and also informed BCCI that we would need jumpers. I was told, ‘It is not in the budget.’ I said, I don’t care. That is the first time they got jumpers.

“I am told that, at times, they are even given used kits, left over by men. The sizes don’t match, patches are put (to hide the names). Is this the way you treat them? This mindset has to change,” she said.

“Why is the Indian women’s team not allowed to wear the Sahara logo? Why does the men’s team wear the logo? Sahara pays the BCCI, a share comes to the men. It doesn’t come down to the women. Sahara is the BCCI sponsor. It hasn’t said, ‘Don’t sponsor the women.’ Think about it,” Edulji concluded.  

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