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Saturday, August 16, 2014

India beats England and wins Series ~ it is Indian women led by Mithali Raj

How many can identify her …. She has led India to a remarkable victory too….. she is Mithali Raj

The good news is that India has won a Test in England and has won the Series too………… it is time one stays away from the awful performances of much touted, overpaid, over-rated, Indian Test Cricketers who have in recent times have failed time and again Overseas …..  there were times, when we criticised Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, Gundappa Vishwanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Krish Srikkanth, Sanjay Manjrekar, and even Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman (the nucleus of Indian middle order in the recent decades)  – never did the previous bunch batsmen fail so miserably like the current Dhawan, Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja….

The news from Wormsley is ‘Indian women won the One-off test by 6 Wickets’… England Women 92 & 202; India Women 114 & 183/4 (95.3 ov) is what the brief score would reveal.   There were 10 debutants – 8 from Indian side E Bisht,  Murugesan Dickeshwashankar Thirush Kamini, H Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Nagarajan Niranjana, S Pandey, PG Raut and  Shubhlakshmi Rajendra Sharma) and that has a story to reveal….a sad one at that ….. the last time England Women hosted their Indian counterparts in a Test match was when  Tony Blair was Prime Minister in 2006 and only three players of that match remain - players - Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Karu Jain – not the fault of others, as 8 years have rolled by in-between. 

In Sept 2006 at Taunton, in Test no. 129, Mithali Raj was the Captain; the star was seam bowler Jhulan Goswami, who took five wickets in each innings and ended with superb figures of 10 for 78.  Mithali Raj is a fabulous player with a highest of 214 in Test …. But has played only 9 Tests since 2002. 

The win came at a picturesque ground,built by Sir Paul Getty inside his massive 2500-acre Wormsley Park estate in Buckinghamshire.  The ground is in  Buckinghamshire, a county in South East England. Sir John Paul Getty, was a wealthy American-born British philanthropist and book collector.

The announcement of English line-up was made at the top of London's famous Shard building, 72 floors up, with the most unbelievable views of the city stretching out below. The professional way of event launch revealed how much English (women) cricketers were cared for – professional contracts, glitzy events, well paid and sports equipments.  In the same breathe, India whose players endorse every product, are amongst the highly paid players of the World fail miserably. Women play Test Cricket after a gap of 8 years.  One may fail to notice that the  last women's Test match that featured India was played just a few months after the BCCI had taken control of the women's game. The subsuming of the Women's Cricket Association of India into the BCCI took place only after protracted negotiations, with the administrators of the women's game left with little choice but to surrender control of their sport after the International Women's Cricket Council merged with the ICC. Mithali Raj - recently named one of Wisden's Top Five Women's Cricketers of all time, and one of only six women ever to score a Test double-century - should be a global superstar – but do all Indian cricket fans know her. 

I hesitated before posting this – yesterday night the scoreline was poised for a close finish. India needing 181 was given a rousing start by Thrush Kamini and Smriti Mandana (51) but by close of play had lost 4 at 119…… with 62 needed to complete the victory, it was expected to be a test of nerves – but the Mithali Raj and Shikha Pandey - one of India's eight debutants in the match - took India through without losing a wicket to spark scenes of joyous celebrations. It was only their second victory ever over England, in 13 Tests.

Come Sept. in Incheon South Korea, Cricket is part of the schedule in the Asian Games -  there will be huge contingent of athletes and bigger one of officials -  aspiring to that cherished medal, the moment that justifies the intense toil and sweat required in its pursuit. No Indian cricketer will be part of the contingent, though. India is the only Test country from the continent that will be unrepresented at the games. Pakistan isn't sending a men's team but their women's team will be participating. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are sending teams for both the men's and women's competitions. Cricket will be making its second consecutive appearance at the Asian games and India - to no one's surprise really – BCCI has spurned the opportunity to send teams and does not even feel it necessary to issue statements as to why…… .

So Indian mens team would return – in October would play West Indies at home …. Some records and some players records could be rewritten ……… but Indian women’s team would have nothing of a worthy game. Over the last decade or so, women's sports in India have gained enormously from success at these multi-discipline events.
~ all these for some while, in Sept. Kolkata Knight Riders, winners of the IPL in 2014 and 2012, will take on Chennai Super Kings, winners of the IPL in 2011 and IPL and CLT20 champions in 2010, in the inaugural Group match of the Champions League Twenty20 2014, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad. India will host the sixth edition of the world's premier domestic T20 competition – a  total of 29 matches will be played in the competition – and people will be cheering the fours and sixers and the cheerleaders ….

Sad !!
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th  Aug 2014.

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