WHITE FERNS captain Sophie Devine and India batter Jemimah Rodrigues said they were all for innovations in women’s cricket to boost its popularity as they discussed various ideas during the fourth instalment of the ICC’s 100% Cricket webinar series.
Shorter pitches, smaller balls and super-subs (substitutes) were among the topics discussed during the one-hour 100% Innovations session moderated by former Australia cricketer and leading commentator Mel Jones, who also took questions from the audience for the two.
Devine, who was the top run-getter for New Zealand at this year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, was in support of experimenting and felt the introduction of a smaller ball could change the dynamics of the women’s game.
Devine: “I think if we are stuck with traditional formats, we'd be missing out on a lot of new players, new kids, new athletes to the game. So, I think it's really an exciting idea to say that we might be able to encourage people along that make it tailored towards the female side of things.
“It’s always good to have a little trial and error and see what works. I'm probably a big fan of looking at a smaller ball, but keeping the pitch the same size, where I think pacers are going to be able to bowl quicker, spinners are going be able to turn the ball more. Hopefully, the ball should fly a bit further as well whereas still keeping the traditional length of the pitch.”
Rodrigues, one of four teenagers in the India side at the T20 World Cup, was open to the idea of a shorter pitch if it could get in more fans.
Rodrigues: “To be very honest, I would go with, you know, like let’s not compare it (men’s and women’s cricket) that much. Because, you know, at the end, you have got to accept the fact that there are slight differences between the two.
“But, yeah, I mean, we can also be open to (a shorter pitch), try it out. If that is going to help the game improve and take it to the next level, then why not? You know, kind of get a thought to it, think about it, because at the end of it, we want to promote the game. We want to get more people to watch the game and more people to even join the game. So, yeah, I think it is a good idea. I think, you know, you can be open to it.”
Both players also discussed the importance of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for women’s cricket. Rodrigues said she had always dreamt of winning a medal at a multi-discipline event while Devine indicated that just being at the games village would be a wonderful experience.
Next week’s webinar series will see Alexandra Willis, Head Of Communications, Content & Digital at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and Karren Rogers, APAC Sports Partnerships for Facebook discussing ways to grow the profile and engage new fans of women’s cricket.
100% Cricket provides a platform to celebrate the women’s game and bring everything fans love about the sport to life. The ICC’s pledge to bring 1 million new women and girls to the game, as part of 100% Cricket will be delivered in partnership with Members. For more information on 100% cricket click here.
To register for the 100% Passion webinar, which will take place on Wednesday 17 June, please click here.