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The Cricket Paradox: A popular sport for men, yet a challenging one for women – The Bridge

Sanjeev Verma figured that the only way her daughter Shafali could enroll in the cricket academy was if she cut her hair short and disguised as a boy. The media repeated this story umpteen times, especially given that Shafali managed to navigate the system and made it to the Indian national team. However, the more important question is, how many Shafalis have discontinued cricket as a kid growing up?

This article gathers insights from Kartik Jeshwanth (Former Karnataka Player & Coach), Sharadha Sridharan (BCCI Level 1 Coach), and Parminder Gill, Co-Founder of Sportz Village.

Ground reality

Across the world, particularly in India, the social barriers remain high for girls taking up a sport. Family, school, and the entire community influence girls’ participation in a sports program. “Until a child turns 12 and enters puberty, there is no difference between a boy and girl. Even at the Under-12 level, I have observed very few girls play cricket since parents and school leaders find irrelevant reasons to discourage the young girls due to lack of awareness,” stated Sharadha Sridharan, who played both Senior and U-19 cricket in Tamil Nadu.

Shafali Verma was asked to chop off her hair and disguise herself as a boy to get admission in a cricket academy (Source: Getty)

Beyond personal experiences and anecdotal shreds of evidence, similar observations were found across India. An extensive survey conducted by Sportz Village that included responses from 800+ Coaches found that 72% of girls were made fun of while learning the sport.

“Playing a sport is supposed to be fun for children. However, negative experiences lead to a ripple effect in the negative direction. Our research survey found that 64% of girls withdraw from the cricket program once they learn about their friends pulling out due to a bad experience,” said Parminder Gill, Co-Founder of Sportz Village.

Diverse factors at play

A lot of destigmatization needs to be done to help more women take up cricket professionally (Source: Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence)


If we take a step back and look at the societal environment around us, several factors impact the mass participation of girls playing a sport. “If urban cities have issues such as space constraint, the safety of women, and transport logistics, the rural locations have insufficient role models for girls to take up a sport,” said Jeshwanth, the former Karnataka player and Coach.

Interestingly, indoor sports such as badminton, table tennis, and basketball have witnessed a better …….

Source: https://thebridge.in/cricket/cricket-paradox-popular-men-challenging-women-34744

Sanjeev Verma figured that the only way her daughter Shafali could enroll in the cricket academy was if she cut her hair short and disguised as a boy. The media repeated this story umpteen times, especially given that Shafali managed to navigate the system and made it to the Indian national team. However, the more important question is, how many Shafalis have discontinued cricket as a kid growing up?

This article gathers insights from Kartik Jeshwanth (Former Karnataka Player & Coach), Sharadha Sridharan (BCCI Level 1 Coach), and Parminder Gill, Co-Founder of Sportz Village.

Ground reality

Across the world, particularly in India, the social barriers remain high …….

Sanjeev Verma figured that the only way her daughter Shafali could enroll in the cricket academy was if she cut her hair short and disguised as a boy. The media repeated this story umpteen times, especially given that Shafali managed to navigate the system and made it to the Indian national team. However, the more important question is, how many Shafalis have discontinued cricket as a kid growing up?

This article gathers insights from Kartik Jeshwanth (Former Karnataka Player & Coach), Sharadha Sridharan (BCCI Level 1 Coach), and Parminder Gill, Co-Founder of Sportz Village.

Ground reality

Across the world, particularly in India, the social barriers remain high …….

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