Indian pace bowler Shikha Pandey, through a series of tweets, expressed her views on the growing suggestions for rule changes in women’s cricket, calling most ideas “superfluous”, instead stressing on the need to market the game better to expand its audience.
Pandey, part of the India team that reached the final of the historic Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year, insisted that women’s sport should not be compared with men’s sport, and that women’s cricket should be viewed as a different sport without modifying the “very fabric of the game to attract audience”.
Pandey’s teammate Jemimah Rodrigues, in the recently conducted 100% Innovations session, said that she was open to the idea of shorter pitch in women’s cricket as a possible means of improving the game and attracting more audience. Pandey, however, called the idea “dubious”, even though she agreed with commentator Ian Smith’s suggestion to comparatively reduce ball size.
“An Olympic 100m female sprinter doesn’t run 80m to win,” Pandey wrote. “First place medal and clock the same timing as her male counterpart. So the whole ‘decreasing the length of the pitch’ for whatever reasons seems dubious. Also, it almost definitely takes the double headers out of question.
“Reducing the size of the ball is fine, but as Ian Smith suggested, it only works if the weight remains the same. 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).”
I have been reading/ hearing a lot about the changes being suggested to help grow women's cricket/ make it a more attractive product. I personally feel most of the suggestions to be superfluous.
— Shikha Pandey (@shikhashauny) June 27, 2020
She also spoke against the idea of reducing the boundary circumference and instead suggested the incorporation of some of the sport’s most popular technical innovations into the women’s game.
“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. Please have patience. We are skilled players, who are evolving.
“Why not have DRS, Snicko, Hotspot, all of the technical acumen and live broadcast for every game that we play anywhere in the world.”
Her tweet series, which was praised by many including Australia’s Megan Schutt and England’s Danni Wyatt, concluded with the suggestion of a bottom-up approach where increased financial support is provided at the grassroots level. “Heavy investments at grassroot levels, equal playing opportunities, zero discrimination etc.
“A sport that 86,174 spectators turned up to watch on March 8, 2020 and several million watched live on their television sets…They saw something special in us, and here’s hoping you do too!”