Hyderabad: Team India’s left-arm orthodox bowler Ekta Bisht feels that the standards of the women’s cricket have been raised since the 2017 World Cup. She feels that the competition at the domestic level at various tournaments has gone up saying that the high-scoring matches and chasing big totals have been the norm in the current cricket generation.
“The standard of the women’s cricket has gone a notch up. Earlier, around 130 to 150 was a winning total in one-dayers in the country. But now even over 200 runs is also not a safe total. Higher targets are being chased down constantly. So the game is changing and the standards are improving for good,” said Bisht, who is in the city representing Railway in the senior women’s one-day tournament.
She credited the World Cup show, where they ended runners-up after losing to hosts England in the final, for the new change in women’s cricket “We raised the bar as we have had a very good tournament. The World Cup provided us the limelight and everyone started talking about us. People are identifying us and taking selfies. More and more girls are started playing cricket after the World Cup which is great,” she pointed out.
The Uttarakhand player played a key role in India’s victory over Pakistan by picking up five wickets. And rightly so, she terms her performance against the arch-rivals as her one of the favourite moments in the tournament. “The match against Pakistan was my favourite for obvious reasons. But Harmanpreet Kaur’s unbeaten 171 runs against Australia in semifinals was my another favourite moment. Because of that knock we entered final,” she reminisced.
She felt the India’s good outing in the World Cup because they played many international tournaments before the mega event with same set of players. “We had a core team and we bonded well on and off the field. We also had good tournaments before the World Cup in Sri Lanka and South Africa. That helped us to perform well,” she added.
The juniors in the team thought of winning the World Cup as a gift to the veterans of the Indian team Mithali Raj and Jhulan Gowswami. “We all juniors wanted to win the World Cup for Mithu did and Jhulan didi. They are such great players. I want both of them to play the next World Cup. Both of them are still very fit and performing well consistently,” she added.
The experience after returning from World Cup was unforgettable, according to Bisht. “I got so many phone calls on return. Though we didn’t win the cup, I am happy that we changed the face of women’s cricket in the country. Now people are aware of the game and the difference between men and women’s cricket is narrowing down. People are excited to see next big tournament. They are eager to see who all are playing and who are not. People are concentrating on women’s cricket.”
She also echoed the similar views on having more domestic tournaments and IPL-like tournament for women. “We need to have more tournaments. We need to groom youngsters for the next generation. In countries like Australia and England, they run leagues for women cricket. We need to do that in India. We heard that the matches from here on will be telecast and we have T20 World Cup next year. We also have many tournaments next year which is good,” she concluded.