In a landmark victory for India, the women’s cricket team won the inaugural Under-19 T-20 World Cup on Sunday, hosted by South Africa. Under the leadership of Indian opener Shafali, Team India beat England with a score of 68 in 17.1 overs. India won the toss and called in England to bat first, ruthlessly bowling through the English batters. India’s Titas Sadhu was named the Player of the Match.
Meet the winners of the inaugural #U19T20WorldCup
INDIA 🇮🇳 #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/ljtScy6MXb
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) January 29, 2023
Cricket is a beloved sport in India, but it is largely a male-dominated industry. There is a severe pay gap between women and men players. Male cricketers achieve star status and brand deals almost instantly, but female players are hardly recognized.
There is also a stigma around the country over women playing cricket, and many players’ family members have shared their experiences of being ridiculed for allowing their daughters to play the sport. Savitri Devi, the mother of Under-19 player Archana Devi, told The Indian Express that relatives told her she had “sold her daughter”.
But over the recent years, Indians are slowly warming up to the talented players. Many can’t stop gushing and rushed to social media to congratulate the team on their milestone triumph.
U-19 World Cup Champions! What a special moment! Congratulations girls on your triumph 🏆🇮🇳
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) January 29, 2023
Champions of the world. Proud. Absolutely proud of the bunch. Champions in the inaugural edition makes it even more special. This is just the beginning. Go team💙 #U19T20WorldCup #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/GCuuCpsh0e
— Smriti Mandhana (@mandhana_smriti) January 29, 2023
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a Rs 5 crore cash reward for the Women in Blue.
Women’s Cricket in India is on the upswing and the World Cup triumph has taken the stature of women’s cricket several notches higher. I am delighted to announce INR 5 crore for the entire team and support staff as prize money. This is surely a path-breaking year.
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) January 29, 2023
Last year in October, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah announced that the cricket governing body in India has agreed to pay equal match fees to centrally contracted men and women cricketers. Many applauded the decision, but this is only the first step in a long process. There is a large pay disparity still present in the sport internationally.