2005 World Cup was turning point for women’s cricket in India, says Jaya Sharma
The growth of women’s cricket is a continuing story and the route to the sell-out crowds and global superstars we see now is winding.
But the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup has so often been a turning point for the women’s game – just ask New Zealand, Pakistan and India.
At three different tournaments, these countries experienced moments that created momentum, advanced change, and ultimately led us to where we are now.
India opener Jaya Sharma was enjoying a similar experience as the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2005 took place in South Africa. India reached their first final before finishing runners-up to Australia, with the Women in Blue trying something new in the build-up to the tournament.
“That [the 2005 World Cup] was something we all as a whole squad can’t forget because that was, I think, a turning point in women’s cricket in India. Most importantly, because there were not many resources, there was not the infrastructure that is present now. We had a bunch of 30 players. And we were preparing for this World Cup for two years,” the official website of ICC quoted Jaya Sharma as saying.
“The main focus was on the fitness part, which wasn’t always the case. I think it helped us to understand our fitness levels. We went up to a very great level in terms of fitness and we started performing well. And I think the best thing that happened to that team is we clicked as a unit. When we beat New Zealand in the semi-finals, people started to take notice that something was happening. Because they were the defending champions. People started to realize that the Indian women’s cricket team is doing something,” she added.
For Urooj Mumtaz and Pakistan, the 2009 World Cup in Australia kickstarted a revolution in women’s cricket. Urooj captained her side as they made their first appearance at an ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup for 12 years. Leading them to their first-ever win over Sri Lanka.
“When we managed to beat the West Indies, that’s when the news started flowing. Because at that time it wasn’t on TV and there was no social media. It was on mainstream news, so when we landed at the airport. There were a few hundred people out there with flowers and drums and obviously family and friends. And there was sort of a party around the airport,” said Mumtaz.
“There were multiple TV interviews lined up, mornings shows would want us on TV. So I really thought that was when women’s cricket took off from there. It was just the awareness of it, people knowing that women’s cricket does exist and there is a team. It just felt like the start of good things to happen. Suddenly the word was out that there’s a women’s team. It has just done really well at the World Cup,” she added.