Charlotte Edwards and Sana Mir have joined Mithali Raj in calling for better pitches to help market women’s cricket better.
The pitches for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2016 have come under the scanner after a number of low-scoring matches.
Speaking on the eve of the clash between England Women and Pakistan Women in Chennai on Sunday (March 27), Edwards and Mir voiced similar opinions.
“The tournament has been brilliant. (But) as players we would probably like to play on slightly better wickets. You want to put the game in good light. The spinners are dominating but you want a little bit more for the seamers, but that’s not the case,” said Edwards. “Here (in Chennai) there was something in it for the seamers. But in Dharamsala, there wasn’t much in it for the seamers. Hopefully, it’s better for the later parts of the tournament.”
A glance at the statistics proves Edwards’s assessment. The pacers have had nothing much to work with and only two of them find their names in the top 10 wicket-takers’ list so far.
Mir was a little more cautious with her views. “As professional players, you have to play on different wickets and conditions. This is the subcontinent so at times you can get low and slow pitches. But definitely, pitches with more bounce would have been good for women’s cricket. We are not bothered about pitches; we’re enjoying our cricket. But definitely, for the overall bigger picture for women’s cricket, the pitches can get better.”
While the surfaces were always expected to be on the slower side and assist spinners, lack of bounce has made strokeplay difficult – something the leading faces in women’s cricket are not happy with.
It’s not just the pacers, batters have also struggled with the ball hardly coming on to the bat.
In the first 15 matches of the tournament, there were only four scores of above 150, two of those coming in Bangalore, traditionally a high-scoring venue. There have been two instances of teams scoring below 120, nine of them below 100. Just 24 sixes have been hit and there have been only five individual half-centuries so far. The slow pitches have resulted in a number of tight matches and thrilling finishes, but hasn’t necessarily been the best way to showcase the growing aspect of women’s cricket – power hitting and ability to clear the ropes.
The comments from Edwards and Mir came just days after Raj minced no words in expressing her displeasure over the nature of the tracks.
“When you’re promoting women’s cricket around the globe, it is imperative that you put up the best brand of cricket for the world to watch and attract people to come to the stadium,” Raj had said after India’s low-scoring game against England in Dharamsala, which her side lost narrowly by two wickets.
“A wicket like this, where the ball is keeping low and turning square, it makes the job for the players very difficult. It might be a matter of winning and losing, but to market women’s cricket it’s not an ideal situation. If you have good wickets, where you can score 150-160, then that would be a better way of showcasing women’s cricket to the world.”