A young 10-year-old girl is feeling dejected because she couldn’t get autographs of stars like Anjum Chopra, Melanie Jones and Isa Guha on her cricket bat due to tight security at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. But her day is set to change thanks to the watchful eye of a member of the Women’s CricZone fan community who tweets her picture and story, garnering people’s attention; she finally gets her autographs.
Using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to spread the word
One of many wonderful stories, communities like Women’s CricZone is bringing fans closer than ever before to the game and the icons they have come to admire and emulate. Female Cricket, one of the youngest cricket communities that boasts over 100,000 fans on all their social media pages and 75,000 followers on Instagram alone. In 2016, Women’s Cricket World, a Facebook page, had more than 50,000 likes. Dating back to 2013, when a couple of college friends went to watch the women’s team play. One of them wondered, “Yaar if they play so well then why isn’t there any publicity?” Bent on doing something about this, Sonali Kumbhare started “a Facebook page just for Indian women’s cricket.” As a state-level leg-spinner, she quit her job to join the team in Mumbai, but destiny had other plans for her.
Few know Mithali Raj’s birthday
A cricket evangelist today, she said, “A lot of people in my team didn’t know that it was mine, and they would talk about it at practice. That felt good.” Back in the day, Cricinfo and Cricbuzz which covers both the men’s and the women’s teams were non-existent but now the numbers have surged since 2017. However, there are plenty of struggles that happen behind the scenes, reveals Kumbhare, “I’ve seen lots of pages come and go in last few years. It’s hard to do it alone. I want to post [notifications about]players’ birthdays but I don’t get the time. Everyone knows when Sachin’s and Virat’s birthdays are, but no one knows Mithali Raj’s.” Another founder, Vishal Yadav, founder of the Female Cricket Fan Group, started to coach young girls with his female-oriented academy and even reached out to UK-based charity Project Front Foot which encouraged the sport among children from the slums of Mumbai.
With this new wave of female role models capturing the hearts of both young boys and girls in India, this is just the first step to bridging the gender gap in a cricket-obsessed country like India.
Image credit: Women’s CricZone, espn.in