What would be the point of having any cricket series for that matter had it not been for some vision? In that regard, the FairBreak invitational, which was concluded just recently, served something special.
It offered a rare and one-of-a-kind opportunity to some of the finest names and those rising in the sport in the tournament.
But having said that, it’s essential to understand: what does a series like FairBreak aspire to do?
* Improving the parity between the availability of franchise cricket tournaments between men and women cricketers.
* Facilitating Exchange of technical expertise between full time and associate teams (ICC), in turn leading to the improving the quality of the games.
It doesn’t end here; as it was not only about executing this wonderful initiative, but how the recently lapped up series made sure that its reach was widespread.
What was most heartening was that no fewer than seventeen (17) broadcasters were licensed to stream the gala celebration of Women’s Cricket across the world.
Be it a digital or a linear channel, they made sure the medium did exist.
That’s a phenomenal effort, truthfully speaking to ensure a space where talents meets opportunity. And not just that; to ensure that such a space is rewarded in the best possible way.
The maiden or inaugural series done, moving forward, the idea now is to see more funding could be drawn through telecasts.
A major learning curve for the respected BCCI
The revered BCCI will perhaps, as one hopes, draw a leaf from the FairBreak invitational in their massive bid to host what could be the maiden series of the Women’s IPL starting next year.
Likewise, the investors have to know about the domestic talents available.
And in here lies a huge opportunity to learn from an errand that shouldn’t have been committed.
By not telecasting a single match of the Senior Women’s T20 League, the investors in whose hands rests the future to grow, cultivate the women’s sport didn’t get a chance to set an eye on the kind of talents that represented such a series.
That’s when barring the usual big suspects- Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, there were Laura Wolvaardt, Sune Luus, Deandra Dottin, Sophie Ecclestone and the likes.
Forget it being a potpourri of massive entertainment; events like the Women’s T20 challenge is a massive opportunity of letting some of the games most enterprising talents share the dressing room with one another and draw from each other’s game.
Imagine, one series, such as the Women’s ODI World Cup- they play opponents to each other and then, with series like the FairBreak global and the Women’s T20 Challenge-they get interwoven and interlinked as beautifully as one could ever imagine
So if you don’t telecast such a massive cultural shift in the Women’s game, which is what we all care for, is that not a lost opportunity?
The strengths of series’ like the FairBreak
The strengths of tournaments like the FairBreak are, without a doubt, the diversity of players. Names- established and rising- from as many as thirty five (35) countries participated in the inaugural tournament.
This franchise cricket model will be a major learning curve especially for the players of the Associate teams.
Much like how India’s Harmanpreet Kaur went on to transform and redefine her game play through the massive influence of WBBL, events like FairBreak and what respective cricket boards initiate in similar fashion could serve a ground-breaking platform for the others involved too.
We know the Associate teams already have limited scope to play matches against full-time members apart from ICC events, so leagues like the FairBreak are a way to narrow that gap.
For the narrower the boundaries between the cricket-playing world, the closer will the world get to each other in the sphere of Women’s cricket- isn’t that what we want?
As more sponsors and players get involved, the quality of the games keeps improving like ever after; the revenue side of this tournament will be a win-win situation for both investors and organizers. That the inaugural tournament was a grand success, a lot can be achieved thereafter.
So what key numbers were involved in the FairBreak global?
The said series involved ninety (90) players, 40 of which hailed from full member nations whilst 50 belonged to Associate members.
The often underrated but potentially dangerous Chamari Athapaththu finished at the top of the runs tally with 313-runs at an average and strike-rate of 52.16 and 139.11, respectively.
World# 1 bowler Sophie Ecclestone picked the most number of wickets in the event with 17 at an economy rate of 5.23 an over.
All the matches took place in Dubai, while the Emirates Cricket Board’s outstanding effort facilitated the smooth run of the tournament.
Three hundreds were struck in the tournament, which embodied high standards in batting.
But to conclude, it’s important to state- just in case the naysayers took the women’s game lightly- that Women’s cricket has lot to offer in terms of the talent it possesses, quality of Cricket, and the spirit of the game.
Fair Break Global Invitation has set the trend. But the buck shouldn’t stop at that; more and more countries, i.e., their respective boards now have to revolutionise the sport further and we hope that it truly happens.
– edited by Dev Tyagi