Australia women’s all-rounder Jess Jonassen has come down heavily on legendary fast bowler Waqar Younis for his disparaging remarks about the women’s game. The Pakistan great had suggested that women’s One Day Internationals (ODIs) be reduced from the current 50-overs-a-side to 30 overs-a-side, a statement from which he retracted a few days later.
Calling his statement “offensive” and “misguided”, Jonassen said that if such a rule was implemented, there wouldn’t be any difference between ODIs and Twenty20 internationals (T20Is). Marizanne Kapp, the South Africa all-rounder and Australian wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy among many others, too expressed their anguish about the same.
“It is a little bit offensive,” Jonassen said in Leicester, where Australia will face off against Pakistan this week. “What’s T20 cricket for, then?
“It’s quite interesting that he said that the day after our match against Sri Lanka, which was one of the highest scoring games of the World Cup so far, with 500-odd runs scored and two of the best innings of the women’s game ever. Maybe it’s a bit misguided. We’ll just leave it at that.”
In the game against Sri Lanka, openers of both the teams got massive hundreds. Sri Lanka’s number three Chamari Athapaththu made a swashbuckling 178 – the highest individual score by a Sri Lanka batswoman and the third highest score in the history of Women’s ODI cricket. Her efforts were however outdone by Australia’s captain Meg Lanning, whose unbeaten 152 helped Australia stave off an embarrassing defeat.
The women’s game has also been enthused by the support it has garnered in the form of crowd attendance during the course of the tournament. The India-Pakistan game over the weekend (July 2) had a 2,500-strong crowd enjoying the action. A sell-out crowd is also expected this weekend in Bristol as hosts England take on arch-rivals Australia, in a much awaited clash on Saturday (July 8).
“The interest level has grown immensely over the last 12 to 18 months especially,” Jonassen said. “For us, it’s also the introduction of domestic competitions back home with the WBBL and having a lot of the internationals coming there for that also. For us that’s something that’s really special and (so is) being able to help increase the profile of women’s cricket globally,” she added.
Winners of six World Cups, Australia are expected to add another crown to that tally, but Jonassen believes that other teams are making rapid progress themselves. “(The game has) absolutely gone to a new level,” she said. “The introduction of ICC Women’s Championship, in order to qualify for the World Cup, has paved the way for a lot of those improvements in a lot of countries around the world.
“It’s something that’s exciting for us and everyone else as well, the gap is closing and it’s pushing teams like ourselves and England to keep improving and still be front-runners. There’s no longer an easy game. That’s a massive positive.
“For us, losing the T20 World Cup not too long ago, that was a real turning point for this group, so there’s no room for complacency at all,” she concluded.