Move over Boys, The Divas are here!
Any self-respecting man will deny vehemently the existence of a female cricket fan.
Their argument is that a woman follows cricket for the cute men and the cute men only, and even if there are 11 good looking men in a team, the sum of all doesn't add up to a genuine love for cricket!
But hold on a second... I have seen scores of men enjoy the long legs and teeny skirts on display during a Sharapova Vs Ivanovic match; does that make them any less of a connoisseur? Sport is entertainment and whether it’s tall, dark and handsome, or line, length and accuracy that draws you in as long as you get bums on seats you know the sport is doing well..
Pundits will wax eloquent about the ‘Knowledgeable Chennai crowd” but if you think that this refers solely to the male population, then think again...Women fans are everywhere.. whether it’s the teeny boppers screeching for Virat’s attention and swooning at so much as a glance , the girlfriend that claps at the end of every ball and wonders why the man with the white hat keeps lifting his arms, or the girl with the face painted, flag in hand enthusiastically egging on her team. Women fans are here to stay.
Now I consider myself an expert on female fans, firstly being one myself and secondly having gone through all the stages of cricket evolution to eventually reach a point where I have managed to earn the grudging respect of cricket loving men. When I first started off.. I remember watching a match with my dad and brother... Their emotions ranging from elation to the depths of despair depending on the swing of a ball... I however managed to keep myself entertained counting the number of times a player spat on the ground or relieved an itch in an unfortunate place.
I wish I could say that my interest in cricket began with an epiphany when I realised how amazing the sport of cricket could be... But in all honesty my love for cricket started the conventional way, with my love for a cricketer! Irfan K Pathan a typical rags to riches story that tugged at my teenage heart and before I knew it I was an Irfan expert or as I used to call myself back then an IRFANATIC.. the school girl crush lasted a few years, during which I wouldn’t miss a single match, even mundane practise sessions at the NCA had a willing audience . Nearly every girl that walks into the stadium today has a favourite player... and you can rest assured that good looking players have a larger more vociferous fan following .The reason for girls following the sport may be shallow but question them on their favourite player and they’ll tell you stats that will get your mind reeling, but that’s not all you’ll probably get an in depth description on all the accessories the player sported that day, what he wore
to a party next week, and how many times he waved to the crowd.. lets see any stats man get that right!!
As the fortunes of my fav player waned however, a genuine interest for cricket took over, and that’s how I graduated from mere groupie to a bonafide cricket fan. Now more than ever women are being recognised as contributors to sport.. Be it Sharda Ugra or Firdose moonda their numerous articles are the holy grail of cricket writing. Even Women Cricket is gaining momentum. The recently concluded ICC Women’s World Cup generated an impressive reach of 23.7 million.The first two matches of the 2013 edition delivered 9.5 times more reach as compared to the 2009 edition held in Sydney, which delivered a cumulative reach of 2.5 million. Mithali Raj and Anjum Chopra are now household names and little girls with bats in their hands a welcome sight.
Even the quintessential Dumb but pretty tv presenters who shared screen space with cricket pundits only to up the glamour quotient has now been replaced by women who know their cricket and get their facts rights.. Isa Guha former England player is easy on the eyes and impressively smart and that is trend today.. Woman in cricket may be easy on the eyes.. But they too are deceptively smart and know their cricket, men beware the female fan is here to stay!