New Delhi: India skipper Mithali Raj feels that the interest for women’s cricket has seen a significant rise since the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup and has, therefore, called for telecast of more women’s matches. Speaking to ANI, Mithali said, “There has to be visibility. There have to be matches that are televised because that’s how we can continue the interest we have developed in people to start following women’s cricket.”
“We definitely need to play more games, whether it’s T20, ODI to Test format because there has to be continuity after what we have set after the World Cup. The boards and the ICC are certainly looking into it,” she added.
The ICC Women’s World Cup in England saw a record coverage with over more than 180 million people being estimated to have watched the prestigious quadrennial tournament and there was an almost 300% increase in viewing hours in comparison to the last edition in 2013. Hosts England won the World Cup defeating India in a thriller by nine runs in the final played at the Lord’s on July 23.
There was significant growth in audiences in all territories, but particularly impressive was an eight-fold increase in viewing hours in South Africa and a huge increase in viewers in India, particularly in rural areas, since 2013. An extraordinary 156 million people viewed the event in India, of which 80 million was rural reach and 126 million were for the final alone. India’s fine performances contributed to a 500% increase in viewing hours in their country.
The Indian skipper further called for more awareness and better marketing strategies whenever the team plays in a bilateral series or hosts other teams. “When there is any bilateral series or when India is hosting any series, there has to be awareness that there is an international series happening and people should come and watch us play in stadiums. Usually that doesn’t happen,” she said. “We should also encourage young girls in schools to take up the sport and have a school team,” she added.