Friday, 22 February 2013

T20 Double-Headers a Mixed Blessing?

Raf Nicholson has been troll-hunting again, following the publication of a somewhat petty and unedifying rant about women's sport in general, and women's cricket in particular, by a local rag which I refuse to dignify with a name, let alone a link.

However, it does raise one issue with which I kind-of, sort-of, almost [That's enough qualifiers - Ed.] agree:

The T20 double-headers, featuring a women's game followed by a men's game (of which there are a couple more this summer) have been a bit of a mixed blessing.

On the positive side, they've gotten some 'numbers on the board' in terms of viewing figures; though honestly I'm not all that convinced. How many people actually turned up early enough to see the women's game at Chelmsford last year? There sure looked to be a lot of empty seats on the TV!

Which takes us to another positive: they've been covered on the TV, which can't be bad... can it?

Well... no... except... the problem with it is that it allows SKY to fulfill their 'moral' obligations to cover women's cricket, while not actually having to do anything more than turn the cameras on a couple of hours earlier. It's a bit like promoting a woman to 'Director Without Portfolio' and then claiming you've 'done your bit' to break the glass ceiling.

But the real worry is that it reinforces the perception that the women's game is an 'opening act' to the 'proper cricket' which follows; inviting exactly the kind of unwanted comparisons we see in the afore(un)mentioned article. ("Yer... but... if you put Sarah Taylor... in a cage fight... with a bear... she just couldn't [square] cut it, could she?")

I guess on balance, I'd still rather have the double-headers than not; but as blessings go... this one comes with salt as well as sugar!

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