Monday, 14 July 2014


This post is about women's cricket, but I don't call men's cricket “men's cricket”, I just call it cricket.

I don't follow the women's game. If I was really pushed I could possibly name a dozen or so players, mostly Australians, but I'd be flat out telling you what they do. Elyse Perry is probably the only one I would recognise if I passed them on the street.

I've tried to follow the game by looking at scorecards and reading match reports. One of the apps on my phone has a photos feature and they seem to post a lot of the women's game, so for a while I was looking at those regularly, but eventually I fell out of the habit.

The trouble is that it is never on the box. OK, so not a lot of men's cricket (err, cricket) is on free-to-air telly either in my opinion, or that is to say I only get to see International cricket played in Australia, the Ashes in England and the Big Bash. But this is at least sufficient that I have seen most of the players and I can picture in my mind what they look like – their bowling action, their batting style, if they are tall or short, handsome or a bit creepy. It means when I am stranded with only the Cricinfo commentary to get me through I can picture the game, I can imagine what is happening, and therefore it keeps me interested.

Sometimes it takes a bit to catch up, of course. For example in the current series between England and India I have never seen Sam Robson, Moeen Ali, Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Rahane, Shami or Binny. But I know I will see them in the next few months either in Tests or the World Cup. And I've seen Binny's dad play of course.

Elyse Perry is the only woman whose bowling action I can recall, that drawn from highlights on the news, since even if the team the story is about Elyse isn't in, her bowling is all they show.

Actually I watched an Australia-England one day match a few years back on internet stream and I still recall Katherine Brunt's action as well, but that is just because she is awesome.

So I struggle to follow the women's game because I don't see it. If it was on the telly I would watch it regularly. If it were played locally (and I live in Newcastle so it might happen) I would go and watch it at the ground.

There seems to be a view though that the women's game will never be as popular or as much of a spectacle as the men's game, for one reason, which has two results.

Women are not as strong as men. To put that more accurately, women at the top of their sport are generally not as strong as men at the top of their sport. I have no doubt that Katherine Brunt is stronger than me.

Result number one, supposedly, is you are not going to get the big hits, the sixers, the maximums (if that's what they are still calling it in T20). I reckon that's spurious insofar as I am not sure the crowds care as much about the maximums as the commentators and administrators think they do, and it is also a view that has been or soon will be superseded by technology. My five-year-old could hit a six with one of these new bats.

Result number two, they can't bowl as quick, which in theory means you won't get four tall women spending an entire game banging the ball in mid-way down the pitch, winning the match on pure terror and intimidation. Good. That's an improvement to begin with.

And secondly, its nonsense anyway. If they didn't show the dodgy speed camera results on the telly you couldn't really pick a serious express bowler from a normal fast-medium trundler anyway. Except that the batsman gives it away. Watching truly scary pace bowling doesn't come down to how fast the projectile moves, but how obviously the batsman is shitting themselves.

If it is true that women don't have the muscle to move the ball as quick, it would follow that they also don't have the rapid muscle twitch fibre to get out of the way as quickly. So it is the same challenge of skill to skill. I can't see why it would not be the same spectacle to watch.

Anyway, I personally think if I were batting against Katherine Brunt she would beat me for pace every time.

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