The Modern Laxmi Bais of Jhansi
Surya Shekhar Das
Captain Mithali Raj bats like a magnificent painter. Surely, Mithali Raj's sheer strength of will power was palpable throughout this global competition. Veda Krishnamurthy uses her willow as if she is a jazz pianist... playing each and every shot with creative yet surgical precision. Then came the wild, uninhibited poet who writes free verse for Team India, Harmanpreet Kaur. Kaur's era defining, magnum opus 171 not out off 115 balls against the mighty Australians in the semi-final has redefined the women's approach towards the game. Such was the powerful innings by Harmanpreet Kaur that it has lifted not only Indian women's performance in the world cup but also catapults this global silverware to unimaginable dizzy heights. Even you may say that at times she batted like a poet, at times she responded with the strongest gun powder. Just rethink about her monstrously hit sixes against a high quality bowling lineup. And there is the quintessential Bengali Express from Chakdah, Jhulan Goswami. Jhulan bowled with passion as well as fire throughout the world cup. Her rousing bowling effort in the final against England virtually turned the game on its head. Jhulan has given us the impression that she is an ageless bowler. In another words, Jhulan is a Titan/ dignified rock star in Indian cricket. And there is one Deepti Sharma. While bowling as well as fielding, she has put everything on display - grit, passion, hunger, anticipation and above all, the unqualified statement of enormous self -belief. To me, along with Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma will serve Indian cricket for a long, long time.
It is already noted that mainstream media does not give the necessary coverage to women's game on a regular basis. But in a cricketing world dominated by the billionaires like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan - to name a few, these women cricketers had to go through enormous difficulties and then only they have got a chance to represent for the national side. The list of difficulties is quite a long one- lack of infrastructure, lack of money/sponsorship, dyspeptic attitude of mainstream media towards women's cricket et al. India is such a country where parents expect their daughters to be competent engineers, doctors, school /college teachers or even business managers. But cricketers? Where there is hardly any financial security! The answer is obvious. We all have to admit that these women have achieved something unique. I would like to say, they have fought in this world cup like the indomitable Laxmi Bai of Jhansi. They deserve rich praise.
The eventual champions England, the six time world cup winners Australia are already blessed with proper infrastructure. If Indian women get proper guidance from the competent authorities, I have no doubt in my mind that for these women, sky is the limit.