Tuesday, July 07, 2009

LPoD - Women's cricket

As a sports lover, I have been delighted at the growing success of the England women's cricket team. And, with the hard-fought, longstanding Ashes just around the corner, tension is mounting! I would say that the ladies' team stands a better chance of winning the Ashes than their male counterparts.

If you're more familiar with baseball, Wikipedia has a nice comparison of the two sports.

My one and only attempt to play cricket was during my school days. It was part of a fundraiser to help the local hospital buy a dialysis machine, so that a lad from the boys' school would no longer have to travel to a neighbouring town for treatment three times a week. We staged a sponsored boys'-school-versus-girls'-school match in every sport on offer at the two schools. When I went out to bat for the girls' team, I was very confident. Huge restrictions had been placed on the boys and I was a dab hand at rounders, so this was going to be easy. Ha! One moment, the bowler was running up to bowl. The next, I was making squeaking noises behind the wicketkeeper, and he, somehow, had my bat! Not my finest moment.

The English women's captain, Claire Taylor, by contrast is a consummate sportsperson - the first woman ever to have been named one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year. There have even been whispers that she may be considered for selection for the men's national team. Of course, they are just rumours at the moment. While she was the leading run-scorer in England's victory in the Women's World Cup, facing up to the pace generated by male first class cricketers is - for now, at least - a very different prospect from that of their female counterparts, and she would be up against stiff competition for her fielding role of wicketkeeper. But let that not detract from her achievements in the women's game.

As if to balance out all this sporting prowess, she is also a skilled violinist with an orchestra in her home town of Reading.

Women wear pretty much the same kit as the men, and questions abound about jockstraps, boxes and breast protection. I have researched the matter on the web and am none the wiser. The previous women's captain, Clare Connor, is on record as saying women wear no protective gear in these areas... and she spoke from the position of one who had been painfully hit in the groin. But that was in 2003. During a (men's) match in 2007, one of the commentators said "I saw Rachel Heyhoe-Flint asked this question once by a really smirking TV pundit," says Tom Adam. "She wiped the smirk right off his face by answering, absolutely dead-pan, 'Yes, we wear boxes, we call them "man hole covers".'


On a more uplifting note, female cricketers have, for the past few years been able to wear kit designed for them, rather than having to make do with men's trousers and the like. And, in 2008, Adidas came on board with specially designed kit for the national women's teams.

Learn more about the women's game here.

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