Same game, different name

Book: Free Hit: The story of Women’s Cricket in India
Author: Suprita Das
Publisher: Harper Sport
Pages: 272 ; Price: 499

There is a lot more to it than meets the eye. And this book Free Hit by Suprita Das has opened the lid of worms and of course, this is the past but of late, there is much better if one has to believe the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI).
According to the new set of contracts, the likes of Karun Nair and Jayant Yadav are set to earn a retainer amount of one crore for the next year — double of what skipper Mithali Raj will make for leading the women’s team, despite neither of the men having represented India for about a year now. It is not about who brings in more money; rather, the exaggerated gap only ensures women cricketers in India cannot hope to receive the kind of support the men take for granted.

However, it was worse when Diana Edulji used to play this game. Edulji, now a member of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) overseeing the BCCI’s administration, and her teammates were asked to pay Rs 10,000 each for participation in the 1982 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, despite women’s cricket in India attracting huge crowds in the 1970s. While gains have been made, it is rather unfair for a team which finishes runner-up in one of the editions of the World Cup to not be appraised fairly.

Free Hit, is an eye opener of what goes through these budding women cricketers when they start the so call Gentleman’s game. Despite all the odds, there are many who pick up the bat and ball and the kit if they have one to head to the cricket grounds, all because of the passion they have for the game.

Gone are the days when only ad academically strong candidates would get a high paying job. Now an Indian parent takes his kid to the net practice on weekends because he thinks there is future for his kid in this field also.
Free Hit is just of a No Balls, but I would say it is Free Hit for all the deliveries the women cricketers face. This book gives glimpses of the history of the game, especially of women and the way they go about, their personal life, and much more than that it is the way these cricketers are treated.

Ironically, cricket is the only sport which is uniting the whole nation. It has been a common topic to make friends with any state in India. Now that the BCCI is running cricket, it shouldn’t be that they should run only men’s cricket. They should be happy with the women’s cricket too. Thanks to some of the institutions such as the Railways, Air India ONGC to name a few how have helped these women cricketers to make their living with secured jobs.

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