‘Don’t have to tinker with rules’: India pacer Shikha Pandey says women’s cricket needs marketing and not rule changes

India fast bowler Shikha Pandey has shot down the suggestions which were recently shared in an innovation webinar organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Some of the suggestions to transform women’s cricket varied from using smaller ball to shorter pitch, but Shikha termed most of the suggestions “to be superfluous.”

In a series of tweets, the India international argued that women’s cricket can be transformed with help of marketing, grassroots level investments instead of tinkering the rules.

She said, “An Olympic 100m female sprinter doesn’t run 80m to win and clock the same timing as her male counterpart. So the whole ‘decreasing the length of the pitch’ for whatever reasons seems dubious. Also, it almost definitely takes the double headers out of question.”

Shikha opined that the size of the cricket ball could be reduced for women’s cricket but the weight needs to be the same, while also expressing her strong disapproval for suggestions to shorten the boundary size.

“Reducing the size of the ball is fine, but as Ian Smith suggested, it only works if the weight remains the same. This will allow for bowlers to grip the ball better – more revs for the spinners – and hits will also travel further (not be the case if it is light),” she tweeted.

“Please don’t bring the boundaries in! We have surprised you with our power-hitting in recent times, so remember, this is only the beginning; we will get better. Please have patience. We are skilled players, who are evolving. Growth can also be achieved by marketing the sport well. We don’t have to tinker with rules or the very fabric of the game to attract an audience.”

The 31-year-old pacer urged for “equal playing opportunities” and live broadcast of every game, saying 86,174 fans turned up at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch T20 World Cup final between India and Australia because of their love for women’s cricket.

“Why not have DRS, Snicko, Hotspot, all of the technical acumen and live broadcast for every game that we play anywhere in the world. Heavy investments at grass root levels, equal playing opportunities, zero discrimination etc,” Shikha said.

“Please, don’t compare women’s sport, women’s cricket, in this case, with men’s sport. We need to see it as a different sport altogether…a sport that 86,174 spectators turned up to watch on March 8, 2020 and several million watched live on their television sets. They saw something special in us, and here’s hoping you do too.”

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