Social Media-The Game Changer in Women's Cricket
It is a known fact that women’s cricket in India seldom gets the visibility it deserves. Most people, for example, have never seen a ball of women’s cricket—simply because the matches are not televised live. Newspapers carry women’s cricket updates only sparingly, making it difficult to stay updated on the sport. The lack of media platform is a very real issue. Enter social media, the game changer.
Suddenly, women’s cricket has the platform it has been craving. Fans can follow their favourite players, track scores, watch matches as the world of women’s cricket comes alive like never before. The crucial issue of lack of visibility is tackled—for individual players as well as the sport as a whole.
Several women cricketers—past and present—are extremely active on Facebook. Team India Captain Mithali Raj, for example, has a substantial following of over 11,000 fans on her Facebook page. Explains Raj, “Social media platforms like Facebook allow me to interact and engage with fans of women’s cricket. This gives a boost to the profile of the sport.” Others, like Vice Captain Harmanpreet Kaur, have a smaller but growing fanbase (Kaur has about 2000 fans on her Facebook page and is active on Google+ as well).
Twitter, the medium of dialogues and conversations, has also caught the fancy of our players. Former England player and now the face of IPL, Isa Guha is very active on Twitter. She has over 21k followers and tweets non-stop. Former Australia player and now NSW coach, Lisa Sthalekar, has a conservative 5400 followers but is always quick to reply to questions on the sport.
YouTube allows cricket lovers to do what television doesn’t—watch the women’s cricket matches ball by ball. “People need to watch our women play to understand that they are very, very good. It is only when they actually watch matches that misconceptions related to women’s cricket can be cleared. In that sense, YouTube is godsend,” explains Manjula Damodaran, cricket coach at Bangalore Cricket Academy.
That said, there is no collective social media platform which represents all of Team India’s women cricketers—which I believe is truly the need of the hour.