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HomeCricket NewsShikha Pandey : Don't Lose The Authenticity Of The Game To Attract...

Shikha Pandey : Don’t Lose The Authenticity Of The Game To Attract An Audience

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India’s fast-bowling-all-rounder, Shikha Pandey, thinks the innovative suggestions put forward for promoting women’s cricket put forward in an ICC webinar is ‘superfluous’.

Shikha Pandey : Don't Lose The Authenticity Of The Game To Attract An Audience
Image Courtesy: The Economic Times

In a detailed Twitter thread, Shikha Pandey explains why an audience can be attracted without messing up with the ‘very fabric of the game’ and stresses on finding better alternatives that won’t lose the authenticity of the game.

In an ICC webinar held earlier this month, New Zealand captain Sophie Devine and Indian batter Jemimah Rodrigues had both agreed to try out different tactics and innovations – including shorter pitches, smaller ball, and more – to attract newer audience to the women’s sport. However, Pandey begs to differ here. She argues the sport was head-start men’s cricket before women’s sport, and women’s cricket will evolve and attract audience with time.

“An Olympic 100m female sprinter doesn’t run 80m to (win a gold) and clock the same timing as her male counterpart,” tweets Pandey, providing a credible analogy for her argument. “So the whole ‘decreasing the length of the pitch’ for whatever reasons seems dubious.”

Shikha Pandey : Don't Lose The Authenticity Of The Game To Attract An Audience
Image Courtesy: Twitter

“Also, it almost definitely takes double-headers out of the equation,” says Pandey. If such a suggestion is supposed to be taken into consideration, the conditions specifically customised for the women’s game would need to be changed in an unconditionally shorter period of time for a men’s game on the same day at the same venue.

“Reducing the size of the ball is fine, but as Ian Smith suggested, it only works if the weight remains the same,” says Pandey, before justifying, “This will allow for bowlers to grip the ball better – more revs for the spinners – and hits will also travel further (not be the case if it is light).”

In addition to this, Pandey also highlights on the rapidly growing technology at all levels of women’s cricket is commendable – an advantage that entails “heavy investment at the grassroot levels” of women’s cricket. “Why not have DRS, Snicko, Hotspot, all of the technical acumen and live broadcast for every game that we play anywhere in the world?”

Shikha Pandey : Don't Lose The Authenticity Of The Game To Attract An Audience
Image Courtesy: Twitter

And finally, Pandey speaks against shortening the boundaries , eliminating any probable doubts of women not having enough power to hit the ball hard out of the boundary. She also stated, women players have ‘surprised’ the audience quite a few times with that skill.

“Please don’t bring the boundaries in! We have surprised you with our power-hitting in recent times, so remember, this is only the beginning; we will get better,” pleads a confident Pandey. “Please have patience. We are skilled players, who are evolving.”

“Please, don’t compare women’s sport, women’s cricket, in this case, with men’s sport. We need to see it as a different sport altogether. A sport that 86,174 spectators turned up to watch on March 8, 2020 and several million watched live on their television sets.”

Many other cricketers supported the Indian bowler and appreciated her brutal honesty in trying to maintain the authenticity of the game without altering the very foundation of it, rather than sacrificing for a better audience and financial profitability. One of which was former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar;

Shikha Pandey : Don't Lose The Authenticity Of The Game To Attract An Audience
Image Courtesy: Twitter

Do you agree with Shikha Pandey? Mention your views in the comments below.

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