England v India: Women’s World Cup Final – Preview

Women’s cricket has come a huge way over the last decade or so, and those pioneers of the game can reflect on a job so well done that this World Cup has gained more attention, and sold more tickets, than any previous edition. The final at Lords tomorrow is sold out, a state of affairs scarcely imaginable only a few short years ago.

The fact that England, who have been strong in the women’s game for many years, are facing India adds to the global appeal, and for the first time this tournament has been broadcast live there. There is little doubt, women’s cricket is on the march, and the BCCI have announced significant bonuses for their players for reaching the final.

It’s also true that as far as England is concerned, the ECB can take satisfaction in the increase in both profile and the levels of participation, which have shown significant rises in recent years. Indeed, such has been the progress that overall participation figures would look truly grim were it not for the female half making up for the decline in recreational cricket.

Many clubs now have a women’s section, indeed some are pushing towards having 2nd XIs, a tribute to the hard work put in creating it from scratch. As ever, the silent heroes and heroines are the ones who do this unpaid for no other reason than that they think it’s worth doing.

When I first started playing there were some women and girls who played, but they could only do so in the men’s teams and there was unquestionably a patronising attitude towards them. Being bowled by a girl would be grounds for mirth and teasing, something those playing couldn’t have been unaware of, but who still wanted to go out and enjoy a sport that they loved.  For those who did so, the current attention must feel like vindication.  Those battles aren’t over by any means – having been slightly involved with the creation of a women’s team, I can recall the fight to ensure the team was called the Women’s 1st XI not the Ladies.

With the development of the sport, so have standards risen. Any club side can see how much better all the players are from starting out as novices, and at the highest levels the quality of play is infinitely higher than it was. If they aren’t household names, then there is a degree of player recognition that wasn’t present until very recently. Sarah Taylor is recognised as not just an outstanding wicketkeeper in women’s cricket, but one who is very likely every bit as good as most male professionals, and arguably better than a couple of international keepers too. She is genuinely superb behind the stumps. For India, Harmanpreet Kaur played an innings in the semi-final that was breathtakingly audacious, and there will be a buzz when she gets to the crease tomorrow.

And that sentence still needs saying, for it is still the case that some patronising views remain prevalent, although the players involved are significantly better than those who tend to adopt such positions. And equally, unintentional condescension – the pat on the head for doing very well – is too often seen. For this is a side of the game that should be celebrated, and is being celebrated.

Sporting occasions are often described as seminal, but this does have the feel of a breakthrough moment. The recent TV deal which included free to air coverage for the England teams notably included the women, and given the more limited scale of female international cricket, that might well raise the profile significantly.

As for the match, England are the favourites, but not overwhelmingly so. They have shown signs of nerves when chasing, not least against South Africa in the semi-final, when a comfortable chase became a tense affair that went right to the wire. Jenny Gunn in particular demonstrated a calm mind at just the right time.

This is the first post from this blog specifically about a women’s match, and there was discussion in the team about whether that would be seen as jumping on a bandwagon. But it feels like the right time, and it won’t be the last.

Good luck to both teams tomorrow.

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29 thoughts on “England v India: Women’s World Cup Final – Preview

  1. lawnmowingmaniac July 22, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    I saw the back end of Kaur’s innings. The power and placement were a joy to watch. If I get the chance I’ll be sitting down to watch that game. It looks a cracker.

    Like

    • thelegglance July 22, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      Funny thing is – and we absolutely knew this in advance – this post has had about the fewest views of any we’ve put up recently.

      Most people just don’t care.

      Like

      • BOZ July 23, 2017 / 10:18 am

        I’m not convinced of the argument that most people don’t care. When people are not reasonably exposed to the sport it’s somewhat unfair to state that.

        Given the litany of obstacles that the women’s game has had to overcome especially from the ICC and ECB – discrimination, discrimination, discrimination – it’s not surprising there is a low level of interest – what interest there is is enthusiastic. The English women’s team have played remarkably over the last ten years and gained very little publicity for their exploits – discrimination, discrimination, you get the picture. Oddly Sky have probably been the most forthcoming in highlighting the game and , yes , today’s game is on Sky – so few will see it anyway – can you imagine your local pub being full to bursting with blokes watching it there because they like the ‘social’ mix just like for rugby or football? – but the media in general have largely been dismissive of this ‘girlie’ thing.

        I’d be interested to know how many working class women are involved in the game and to what level compared to the very obvious middle class make up of the current team? There I go again, sorry, it’s in my genes …..

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        • thelegglance July 23, 2017 / 10:19 am

          The post views for this one are extraordinarily low. Trust me on that.

          Like

          • BOZ July 23, 2017 / 10:26 am

            I do, but I’m not convinced that most people don’t care – especially when they haven’t had the chance to ….

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          • thelegglance July 23, 2017 / 10:29 am

            It’s not the kind of thing many would explicitly say. But the lack of attention is pretty strong evidence (I don’t mean just here). A lot of the time it’s nothing to do with it being women, it’s just because the standard is a lot lower. You see the same thing in other sports, women’s football gets more live terrestrial coverage than men’s, it’s just not as popular, or anything close.

            Nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t invalidate anything. But I don’t see how it can be denied.

            Like

        • BOZ July 23, 2017 / 10:24 am

          ….. oh, and I forgot, my local cricket team based their plan on purchasing their current ground on the notion of making cricket and the facilities available to the community, a ‘community resource’ they claimed! As I understand there are two male teams and no plans for any girls/ women teams whatsoever.

          update: The chairman, once he had sealed the deal for the cricket ground, immediately resigned his position on the council. There are still no houses built.

          Like

  2. Sean B July 22, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    Weather is looking more than a bit ropey. Forecast of heavy showers from 1pm. Sounds like a bowl first kind of day.

    Does anyone know if there’s a reserve day, because they may will need it?

    Like

    • thelegglance July 22, 2017 / 10:49 pm

      Forecast is all over the place. One earlier said sun all day. Well, it’s England I guess. Yes, there is a reserve day.

      Like

  3. thebogfather July 23, 2017 / 10:53 am

    I’ve got to say that some of the batting during the tournament, especially Taylor (and what a fabulous WK too), Mandhana and Harmanpreet,and a few others, has been a joy to watch. However, even the ICC3 top bowlers are generally pretty poor, but then in men’s ODI’s and especially T20, most bowlers are but cannon-fodder to the shortened boundaries, thick-edged bats and bowling/fielding restrictions…

    Like

    • thebogfather July 23, 2017 / 3:30 pm

      England’s bowlers bowling pies… and one or two may have eaten too many too (not just a view on the women’s game but also of recent men’s T20 competitions… fit for bowling or bowling for fitness? qv Our Fred (Trueman not Flintoff)

      Like

  4. BOZ July 23, 2017 / 11:53 am

    “It’s not the kind of thing many would explicitly say. But the lack of attention is pretty strong evidence (I don’t mean just here). A lot of the time it’s nothing to do with it being women, it’s just because the standard is a lot lower. You see the same thing in other sports, women’s football gets more live terrestrial coverage than men’s, it’s just not as popular, or anything close.

    Nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t invalidate anything. But I don’t see how it can be denied.”

    Okay,
    How many women write articles here?
    How many women contibute in the comments section?
    How many women are encouraged to view and comment here?

    This blog, along with one or two others, have been in the vanguard for challenging what is happening to cricket globally and within this country. I have followed it assiduously over the years and can say it is because the people here genuinely love the game. Nothing wrong with that.

    I don’t doubt an apparent lack of interest in women’s cricket may be down to ‘quality’ issues or the different pace of the game but it cannot be denied that women have not had an easy ride right down to not using the changing rooms at Lords etc etc. and that corruption still exists. it is only when things change at the top that women will not have the hurdles in sport that men don’t even notice.

    If the women’s game was promoted as 5 overs each team, naked, then live interviews with players in the bath afterwards it would be a sell out – but it wouldn’t be viewed strictly for the game would it? – must try harder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance July 23, 2017 / 11:55 am

      Mmm, I’ve not denied that. Just the opposite, I specifically highlighted that kind of thing.

      Incidentally, I am intrigued that the sex of the writer has a bearing on anything. Is Lizzie Ammon less qualified to write about men’s cricket because she’s female? That is the exact implication of your point, to try to ask if women are encouraged on here (there are some by the way) solely because of their sex is quite extraordinary.

      Like

      • thebogfather July 23, 2017 / 3:41 pm

        i’d rather listen to or read Lizzy Ammon and Izzy Westbury, as well as Isa Guha and Melinda Farell than Lady Hurgh-Hurgh, ShinyToy, Lovejoy, Daggers, Gower or Botham

        Liked by 1 person

      • BOZ July 24, 2017 / 6:05 am

        you completely, maybe deliberately, miss my point and choose to use peripheral agrument to sustain your own rather than look at, as London Grasmmar might say, the big picture

        Like

        • thelegglance July 24, 2017 / 7:47 am

          What argument of my own? Your last post agreed with the thrust of the piece itself. You’re arguing with me saying the same thing about the under-appreciation, indeed contempt towards women in cricket. Do you want me to say I agree with you agreeing with me? I’m confused, but I can if you like. And it’s not peripheral to respond to what you said, indeed what you made a big thing of saying.

          Like

  5. LordCanisLupus July 23, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    We do it, we are tin foil hat conspiracy theorists.

    When the media do it, it’s fair comment.

    Like

  6. Mark July 23, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    Bill Burr on woman watching men’s sport, and womans sport.
    I’m not saying this is all true, but like most humour it has an element of truth to it. And yes, I find this very funny.

    I’ll get my coat……

    Like

  7. d'Arthez July 23, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    Well, I was away, so post views will have been a bit lower ;).

    I have commented here before on the women’s games. But I did not get many responses. Probably because it always interfered with some other (men’s) game that was going on.

    No one mentioned the scheduling farce. Having all games on single days (other than the opening 2 rounds), or two days at best. A few weeks ago, all the games were on Sunday; incidentally two men’s ODIs were held on Sunday; there was no international cricket on the Saturday. Would it really have been beyond the ICC to spread the games a bit more sensibly?
    Of course. We all know that. The word competence seems to be the antonym of “ICC”

    The first semi was scheduled on Tuesday. The second on Thursday. It is that the England men were so incompetent on Day 4, that there was no clash between watching England fight it out (men and women) with South Africa. And judging by the game on Tuesday, well, people might actually have watched a nailbiter. Courtesy of the England men, who yet again made up for sheer incompetence of the ICC.

    Oh, and I am sure that no one is under the illusion that we will have five games on each playing day for the World Cup in 2019, right? Not even for the deciding (last round) games, so as to lessen possible corruption with regards to semi-final qualification right?

    Sure, the standards are lower – but that is like complaining that professional sportspeople have higher standards than amateurs; and forget not, that most international cricketers were amateurs just as little as five years ago. Did not have the access to the same facilities. Just one example: just two weeks before the tournament started India had the first day with their first ever fielding coach. Uh, yeah, and then we somehow expect the standards to be as high as the men’s game, who have had fielding coaches for I don’t know how many decades?

    It is fair to say, that 99% of the female cricketing talent has not even been uncovered, either through prejudice, or simply not being able to afford to play the game. This is less a problem in a country like England, and more of a problem in a country like India, where poverty remains a real challenge (and even in England it is a significant problem).

    Sure, women run slower. So mishits may not result in as many catches (due to distances that need to be covered) as they would in the men’s game, but fewer mishits will be flying for sixes as well.

    Then there are umpiring howlers. Not due to the umpires per se. But because the ICC can’t even be bothered to have a television umpire, so clear run outs have not been given, because they can’t be reviewed by a third umpire. Again, hard to blame the women for yet another instance of ICC incompetence.

    Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez July 23, 2017 / 5:18 pm

        For a total of 10 games, out of 31. The other games did not even have a third umpire to adjudge run outs. Let alone DRS.

        Like

        • thelegglance July 23, 2017 / 5:19 pm

          That it happened at all is progress. It’s all provided by the broadcasters, which is another subject altogether.

          Like

        • d'Arthez July 24, 2017 / 4:44 am

          Yes, but if the broadcasters paid for it, why the hell could the ICC not even pay for third umpires in the other 21 games? It is not like they have been a recent invention: for the men the third umpires have been around for about 25 years.

          Oh right, the ICC really prioritises the women’s game. As much as the chess federation promotes ice hockey.

          Like

          • thelegglance July 24, 2017 / 7:49 am

            Oh I’m not defending that. I’m just saying it’s better than it has been. It’s like Dr Johnson’s dog walking on its hind legs – it might not be done well, but you’re surprised it’s done at all.

            Like

    • thelegglance July 23, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      Remarkable finish. Stress and tension do funny things to people.

      Like

      • BoredInAustria July 23, 2017 / 5:00 pm

        Seems Shrubsole thrives on it… Well done to England

        Like

  8. BoredInAustria July 23, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    Just camer home after a bit of a blitz mini world tour over the last weeks, opened up BOC that lead me to a new look cricinfo live cricket page – lots of surprises these days.

    All in it still in the match, 2 fours and a wicket in that over. And another one as I type.

    I was on a quick unexpected visit in Pretoria that could mean a stop off at my parents where time ticks differently. Ungfortunately between tests, so I did not get a chance to see some SA perspective, and the Afrikaans Newspaper they get have as shocking cricket coverage as the rest of it’s news.

    The Saffers are glaoting in their victory, with some speculation regarding a new head coach (Gibbs making the argument for an Aussie…). The PTA newspaper were rooting for their man Marham in the squad, and lots of warm feelings for Faf. Even KPs speculation with playing ro SA made the paper (and claiming he will be playing a in SA)

    To be fair the women’s cricket did feature a bit with some coverage of the Proteas narrowly losing.

    I did drop in briefly over the past week, but good to be back, I will catch up – although you are trolling me with Andy Flower….

    Krishnamurthy out… 200/6 – looking good, and counting.

    Like

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