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Batting on a different pitch

Last updated: 22 March, 2010
Megha Shenoy 17:49 IST

IPL maybe getting all the attention but also gaining its share of importance is the womens cricket team of England. A group of 12 girls, along with their coach, are in the City training for their next tournament.

Thrilled: The women’s cricket team of England. DH Photo by Vasu M NThorough professionals, the girls are determined and love every minute of what they do. They say cricket has given them more than they bargained for. For one of the players, Jenny Halstead, who is also a teacher by profession, cricket has helped her adapt the importance of team work into her classroom. “Cricket is more than just a game. It helps one grow both as a person and as a professional. There is a lot in cricket that one can apply in real life,” says Jenny. “Maybe that’s why there are so many people who love the game,” she adds.

Women and cricket may be a rare combination in India, but, they say, things are a lot more different back home in England.

“People are far more accepting and encouraging in England. And even the outlook towards women’s cricket, as a whole, has changed a lot over time. In fact, we have noticed that people are far more curious about women’s cricket,” says Joanne Cook, another player in the team.

For many of these players, this is their first visit to the City. “We did go out for sometime and found the place to be busy all the time. It’s not like this back home,” says Jenny while Joanne adds, “A lot of people actually approached us on the streets asking us who we were and where we were from. We found it to be a very friendly gesture.”

The team trains and practises for almost three to four hours everyday. And according to their high performance manager, Paul Shaw, training women in cricket is far different from training men. “It’s actually far more satisfying training women because they are more attentive, willing to spend more time in training and one can actually see them develop as wonderful individuals,” says Paul.

Recently, the team also witnessed their first IPL match, which they loved. “It was a great match. We loved the buzz that surrounded it. In fact, we also went out and got our own jerseys to support the RCB. From the energy of the crowd to the passion towards the game, we enjoyed every minute of it,” says Rochelle Petty, another player.

Ask them if they would be interested in something like the IPL and they immediately respond with a big ‘yes’. “It will definitely be a positive move for women’s cricket. Blending both entertainment and cricket together is a wonderful idea. But at the end of the day, the focus must be on the game,” says Jenny.

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