Women hitting hard
WOMEN’S cricket has taken off significantly on the global stage over the past few years.
It was evident during last year’s ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
The women’s version, played simultaneously with the men’s event, attracted plenty of attention and benefitted from international television coverage of the semifinals and final.
While the popularity of the women’s game has made strides on the world stage, the jury might still be out on if Barbadians accept and appreciate this form of the game.
Calvin Hope, chairman of the Barbados Cricket Association’s marketing and public relations committee, is no doubt that women’s cricket is embraced by locals.
“Cricket is in the DNA of every single Barbadian. When Barbadians see quality cricket, they respond. From a Barbadian perspective, cricket is a human interest thing. Barbadians don’t just look at cricket,” Hope said.
“Cricketers – gender natural – are based in the context of Barbadian life, and cricket has been the hallmark of excellence in Barbados for a long tim.
“When we look at the ICC World T20, the crowds were not disappointing. Some people might have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cricket that we saw. It inspired me as an administrator that we should look more seriously at this segment.”
Over the next few weeks, Barbadians will have a chance to see what our women have to offer on the field.
In the first step towards integrating the women’s game into mainstream programme, the BCA has organized the inaugural Iris Walker Memorial Women’s competition which got going yesterday with matches at Weymouth and Alexandra School.
The competition, which is split into a 40-overs-a-side competition and Twenty20 segment, features four teams and will run into mid-April.
It includes a team comprising mainly UWI students, another with players from secondary schools in the north and two squads chosen from among players who attended practice sessions under the direction of BCA coaches at Kensington Oval.
The ultimate aim is to move to a women’s club competition in the future.
“The plan is to fully integrate women’s cricket into the cricket programme where the BCA is dealing with the promotion and development of cricket,” Hope said.
“The existing structure of cricket is through the club and school system. In the future, the female segment will play out in that structure.
Chairman of the BCA’s women’s committee Pat Greenidge is also optimistic that the women’s game will take off locally.
“We have to embark on a programme to encourage the clubs to bring women on board,” she said.
“When women’s softball was being played competitively years ago, it really had a big following.
“As people become more aware that women’s cricket is being played out there, it will attract interest.”