Monali’s Musings: An Eeventual February Month For Women’s Cricket!

by Monali Patel

This Issue we look into what has been
a history making month for women’s
cricket not only globally but also locally
as we kick things off with positive signs
towards a first ever U-19 women’s in Ontario,
followed by a riveting Women’s T20 World Cup
and finally an auction like no other in the WPL.
There are finally signs of an U-19 Junior women’s
program and they have been initiated by the
Cricket Council of Ontario. They recently
launched a program with 14 young girls with 2
hour weekly sessions headed by two coaches.
The practices include drills, net sessions and
theory and there seems to be a great amount of interest from the juniors as they learn the basics and hope to
one day spearhead a national U-19 program. The program is also
free for all the juniors which is always a welcome sign for parents
who may not be able to financially afford enrolling their children
in sports. I do not agree with the program being called a “High
Performance Camp” by CCO, a “Development Camp” fits a better
description of the program as a whole. Regardless of the name
though, it is certainly a very welcome sign for the development of
the sport.

Still staying locally, we now turn out heads to the senior women’s
side and their training. Official national training started on February
27th in Toronto for the girls based in Ontario. Captain Divya
Saxena also made a trip down from Alberta to Ontario for the
start of training. There isn’t news about how or when the playersliving outside of Ontario are training yet, however I am sure coach Pubudu will have a plan. After a good chat
with Captain Divya Saxena and Ingleton Liburd, they
have hinted at increased attention from Cricket Canada
into the women’s training as they start preparations for
the America’s Qualifiers due to take place in Florida in
September. The issue, however, is now panning out to
be a lack of commitment from the players. Previous
attempts at starting training have shown little to no
participation from senior players. The turn out has
been extremely poor, as has the overall commitment to
fitness and communication. Representing your country
in a sport is not a right but a privilege and the players
should always remember this. And, picking up a bat or
ball a week before a tryout also means nothing for your
development as a player. Sports take time on and off the
field. It is long hours in the gym, in the nets, watching the
game, most importantly always being a student of the
game. With the stakes high and competition strong, if
the senior players do not start getting their act together
another chance at a world cup qualifier will go down

Time for a quick trip to South Africa again. This month
however we recap what has been a memorable world
cup for hosts South Africa. The women’s World Cup
just drew to a conclusion in sunny South Africa and it
did not disappoint! It had everything from close games,
upsets, to incredibly heartwarming moments. The most
thrilling games had to be the two semifinals.

In the first semifinal India took on Australia and the game
was certainly a thriller! India were sloppy in the field and
the bowling was also below par. However, with the bat,
they had Australia sweating. In the end Australia were
able to hold their nerve as they have done countless
times before to take the win and be the first team through
to the final. The second semifinal was between hosts
South Africa and England. Favorites England to win were
completely blindsided by a very strong South African
side. South Africa put on a spectacular show with the
bat and then took the field again with the ball in the same
spectacular fashion, pegging England back with wickets at
regular intervals. This game though, was South Africa’s
to win, and win they did. They made history as the first
ever South African Cricket Team men’s or women’s to
ever win a semifinal and play in a final!

In the finals, Australia won the toss and opted to bat
first. South African bowlers were fantastic with the ball
and took regular wickets restricting Australia to 156/6.
In reply, Australia’s bowlers unfortunately proved too
strong for South Africa restricting them to 137/6 at the
end of their 20 overs. While things did not go South
Africa’s way in the final, they inspired a general of young
cricketers in their nation.

Now for the news that took women’s cricket to new
heights…the Women’s Premier League! We witnessed
an auction like no other in the history of women’s
cricket. The WPL is scheduled for March 4th to 26th
and will see 5 teams go head to head. During the
auction a total of 87 players were sold, of which 30 were
overseas players. The most expensive bid was Smriti
Mandhana to Royal Challengers Banglore for a whopping
$415,000 USD. The most expensive overseas player was
Australia’s Ashley Gardiner for $390,000 USD. All in,
almost $7.2 million USD was spent at the auction with
Australia dominating the overseas players list. With the
stage set for the inaugural WPL, the tournament is sure
to entertain!

What an eventful month February was for Women’s
Cricket! We saw a glimmer of hope at home with a
start of a development U-19 program, a hopeful restart
to the senior women’s program as they prep for a very
important tournament, an incredible ICC Women’s T20
World Cup and a history making WPL auction. It’s safe
to say these are extremely exciting times for Women’s

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