Noel D'souza
May 07, 2022

Goafest 2022: How the ICC marketed the 2017 World Cup helped enhance the profile of women’s cricket – Mithali Raj

Captain of the women's cricket team, Mithali Raj, was in conversation with Sharlene Lobo, anchor, Mirror Now, on day three of Goafest

Sharlene Lobo (left) and Mithali Raj
Sharlene Lobo (left) and Mithali Raj

The first session of day three at Goafest 2022 kicked off with Mithali Raj, captain of the Indian women's cricket team speaking on how relentless courage can help break boundaries.


Raj was in conversation with Sharlene Lobo, anchor, Mirror Now. 


Navigating changing paths 


Raj started the session by stating the importance of choices and priorities.


“It is all about the choices that you make. Each choice leads you to a different path and it all has to do with the priorities at that point of time or in that juncture of your career,” she said.


She followed this by explaining how the BCCI has helped women's cricket go.


Raj said, “When we came under BCCI in 2006, things started to change for the better for women’s cricket. It became a more structured way in which things were organised. We got access to facilities like the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, where we were educated on how we need to conduct ourselves, and how to go about persevering during different stages of an injury.” 


In addition to these facilities, Raj mentioned that the academy facilitates sports psychologists to work on the player's mindset, and a video analyst to scrutinise the technical aspects of a game. 


Raj further revealed that the women's game took big strides in 2017 as the ICC's marketing efforts for the World Cup that year were 'brilliant'. India made it to the final in 2017, where they lost to England by nine runs.


"In the 2017 World Cup, the marketing for us was done brilliantly. Social media came to the forefront, and we had updates on Twitter and Instagram. These factors have helped to enhance the profile of women’s cricket globally in the 2017 World Cup,” she said.


Views on the disparity between men's and women's cricket


“Where men's cricket is today is not an overnight success. It has been a journey and years and years of thinking about how to promote the sport as well as the players. Similarly, women’s cricket is also on that journey from the 2017 World Cup. In time we will come to that stage where opportunities will be in power with men's cricket. A sport is meant for everybody, and at the end of the day, it is about watching athletes representing the country.”


Key to sustaining a career in cricket 


When it comes to a career in cricket, Raj spoke about the importance of not just physical discipline but mental discipline too.


“In times of despair, you think you are not capable. It is not just about physical discipline but mental discipline should be taken into account. Your character, the qualities you have, how you create ideas in your mind. We need to work on our mental space and keep check of our emotions, using them as a weapon of resilience to fight back. Not just showcasing that resilience for others but yourself as well." 


"The days when you come out of fear is when you need the feeling of courage”, said Raj.


On her upcoming biopic 


Raj's biopic Shabaash Mithu is scheduled to release in July later this year and sees Taapsee Pannu play the lead.


On the film, she said, "A girl should be inspired to pick up any sport. Girls are getting to play cricket leagues around the world, matches are televised, and they are getting to brand themselves. The movie is an acknowledgement to all those women cricket players who haven’t got a chance to be in the limelight. Maybe because of this movie many more girls will pick up the sport."


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