The last few years have witnessed the emergence of many women who have gotten involved with cricket in some form. Let's start at the bottom and work our way up....
Most Indians cannot forget Mandira Bedi (some, not quickly enough). On the other hand, I did like the tricolor peas pulao in her old TV ad. One of the positive side-effects of the IPL has been in this area. We have a couple of rich 'Bollywood' glam-acts who own stakes in IPL teams. Then we had Ms. Tishani Doshi, a dancer (or is that danseuse?) / poet/journalist born and based in Chennai wo-manning one of the many IPL blogs on cricinfo. While she is no cricket expert, the view from the distaff side made for some interesting reading. A rather unexpected piece of cricket-related writing came from Rebecca Lee, one the 'mischief gals', hired as cheerleaders for home-team Bangalore for IPL-II. The blog by Ms. Lee was quite interesting, in that it comes from an American, trans-cultural perspective. Furthermore, their comments on the effort level and mental state of the Bangalore team while it put together a nice, long winning streak before the inevitable final tragedy was noteworthy. While I'm not a fan of this whole cheer-leading stuff, I do hope these gals return next season and blog some more.
IPL aside, we have more cricket-aware, serious lady writers/speakers today than ever before. Many of the cricketers who participated in the recent Women's world cup have blogged regularly on cricinfo during that tournament. It was a pleasant surprise to listen to the commentary on the recent Aus-South Africa (men's) ODI cricket series in SA. One of the persons on the commentary panel was Kass Naidoo (i think), and she was pretty good. Certainly better than all the crappy ex-cricketers throwing up en-masse into the mike during the IPL.
A personal favorite is Sharda Ugra, Deputy Editor of India Today. Her regular cricket columns (such as 'free hit') are among the best in the sports journalist business. She calls a chuck a chuck, and reminds me of Mary Carillo (Tennis), albeit less controversial. Among other things, she has worked with John Wright, former Team-India coach on his wonderful book 'Indian Summers' that captures many moments of the renaissance years (2001-2004) of Indian cricket. She is also the winner of the 'best sports writer of the year 2006' (India).
i've probably left out many more, and we'll have to end with this:
Behold, Mandira and Sharda,
meal-ticket and sticky-wicket
there's room for all in desi cricket,
but fitting 'em to rhyme is harda