India is always considered as one of the greatest Cricket playing nations in the world, as the game is played quite extensively all over the country. Though the game is mainly played by men in India, the Indian women are also playing the game for quite some time now.
Beginning of Women Cricket in India
The Women's Cricket in India started its journey several years back, during the first half of the 1970s. The first ever recorded match of the Indian national Women's Cricket team was held on 31st October, 1976, where India played against the West Indies team and drew the match. The match was held at Bengaluru and it officially started the journey of Women's Cricket in India.
Women's Cricket Association of India
With a view for a better management of Women's Cricket in India, the Women's Cricket Association of India (WCAI) was established in the year 1973. The first President of the WCAI was Begum Hamida Habibullah and the association organised the first National Women's Cricket Championship in Pune, in the same year. Though, the Indian Women's team tried, it failed to participate in the first Women's World Cup in England in 1973, as it could not apply in time. The WCAI took a number of initiatives to promote and spread Women's Cricket in India and as part of these initiatives, it organised an inter-zonal limited over tournament, named Rani Jhansi Trophy at Kanpur, in 1974.
Development of Women Cricket in India
In the year 1976, the WCAI invited the New Zealand women's Cricket team to tour India and it was the first time that a foreign women's team visited India. It was also in the same year that the Indian Women's Cricket team recorded its first Test win against West Indies at Patna. India then took part in the second Women's World Cup, in 1978; however, it could not play well and finished at the last position, among four teams. The other three teams in the World Cup were Australia, England and New Zealand. The WCAI continued its endeavours to promote women's Cricket in India and in 1981, the England under-25 team toured India. Then, the Indian Women Cricket team went for a tour in England in the year 1986, where eminent Indian Women cricketer, Sandhya Agarwal made a national Test record by scoring 190 at Worcester.
Performances of Women Cricket team in India
The Indian Women cricketers have shown great performances both in the domestic level and international circuit, so far and have brought a lot of glory to the nation. They have also made a number of World records. Their performances helped in the spreading of Women's Cricket in India, a lot. In 1995, the famous Indian Women left-arm spinner, Neetu David set a world record for most wickets in a Test innings with her haul of 8-53 against England at Jamshedpur. This is the best bowling for a bowler in Women's Test Cricket. India also became successful to beat the New Zealand team in a one-day series for the first time, in 1995. In the mean time, the organising ability of the Women's Cricket Association of India (WCAI) was improved significantly and as a result, it got the responsibility of organising the Women's World Cup, for the second time in 1997. India successfully hosted the World Cup and a record 11 countries took part in the tournament.
Indian Women Cricketers
The Indian Women cricketers continued playing well against their opponents and in 1999, Chandrakanta Ahir played a blistering innings of unbeaten 166 runs in a one-day match against Sri Lanka. She played the innings at Agra and helped India to get a huge total of 301 runs for 4 wickets, in 50 overs, in that match. In the next year, India gave an impressive performance in the Women's World Cup and entered into the Semi-Finals. However, it lost to the hosts, New Zealand. The year 2002 is considered to be a milestone for Women's Cricket in India, as the Indian team registered its first ever Test victory on foreign soil against South Africa. The legendary Indian women cricketer, Mithali Raj also played an extraordinary record-breaking innings of 214 runs in a Test against England at Taunton, in 2002. In the next year in 2003, India defeated New Zealand by a huge margin of 4-1 in a home series and in 2004; India became the Champions in Asia Cup, held in Sri Lanka. It has so far won the Asia Cup for four times in the years of 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008.
The Women's Cricket in India is looking to be going great guns in the recent years, as the Indian team has got significant success both on home soil and in overseas. The Indian national Women's Cricket team is being led by Jhulan Goswami, from West Bengal. As of October 2008, the team has played 34 Test matches where it won three.
Memorable Events for Indian Women Cricket Team
India also has the credit of scoring the highest team total in Women's Test Cricket. India scored 467 runs against England on 14th August 2002 at County Ground, Taunton, England. The record for highest individual score is also with an Indian cricketer, named Mithali Raj, who scored 214 runs against England, on 14th August 2002 at County Ground, Taunton, England. The best match bowling figure in Women's Test match remains with India's Jhulan Goswami, who had a haul of 10/78 against England, on 29th August 2006 at County Ground, Taunton, England. In ODI Cricket also, the highest team total of 298/2 was made by India against West Indies on 26th February 2004 at Jamadoba. The highest individual score by a Woman cricketer in ODI Cricket is 138 not out, by Jaya Sharma. She got the score against Pakistan on 30th December 2005 at National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan. The best innings bowling figure of 6/10 in ODI Cricket was also made by an Indian cricketer, named Mamatha Maben against Sri Lanka, on 25th April 2004. Some of the greatest Indian Women cricketers include Mithali Raj, Anjum Chopra, Jhulan Goswami, Neetu David, Jaya Sharma, Mamatha Maben, etc.
Stadiums for Indian Women Cricket Team
There are fourteen grounds in India that have hosted women's international Test cricket matches. The first women's international test cricket match hosted in India was held at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on 31st October 1976. There are six grounds in India hosting women's T20I matches. The first women's T20I match hosted in India was held at the Bandra Kurla Complex Ground in Mumbai, Maharashtra on 4th March 2010.