Cricket The Indian women’s team can perform even better with more BCCI support, says former captain

At 46, Purnima Rau, former India women’s cricket captain, has every reason to look back with mixed feelings. For someone who was one of the pioneers of women’s cricket, more so as an off-spinner who picked 50 ODI wickets from 33 matches and even has the career-best figures of five for 24 in a Test match (she played only five) between 1995 and 2000, this genteel Hyderabadi has seen the best and the worst on and off the field. So it was a pleasant sight when Purnima engaged in a free-wheeling chat with tennis star Sania Mirza the other day at Gymkhana Ground; the two champions were sharing thoughts on sports and not just about themselves.

“It feels good when the Sri Lankan team shocks defending champion England or a West Indian Stephanie Taylor hits a big hundred in a World Cup. I also felt very happy about the two centurions from India - Thirush Kamini Murugesan and Harmanpreet Kaur,” she says. “The best part is scores of 240-plus have become common, like in men’s cricket.

This should take the game a long way ahead,” Purnima says about the ongoing World Cup. “No one can ever complain that women cricketers don’t work hard,” argues Purnima, an Air India officer. “It is good that BCCI is now governing the sport in India. But still the player gets just Rs 1 lakh for an entire series or a tour.

Though this is better compared to my playing days when I got Rs. 1000 for ODIs and Rs. 2000 for Tests, lot more has to be done,” points out the former captain who led India to the 1995 Centenary Cup victory .

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

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