Sunday, January 27, 2013
"A difficult situation, not of cricket's making", or On the Blokeyness of Cricket
In what is possibly the most disingenuous statement I have ever heard, on Friday the ICC issued a comment regarding the movement of the Women's World Cup away from the Wankhede Stadium to allow its use for the men's Ranji Trophy.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: ''I am grateful for all the support ICC has received from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) during a difficult situation, which was not of cricket's making."
(See http://www.icc-cricket.com/newsdetails.php?newsId=22633_1359121200 )
This situation is entirely of cricket's making.
This situation is the result of countless cricket journalists, pundits, and institutions throughout history regarding cricket as a cherished male cultural space (note: when women first played at Lord's, it was described as an "invasion"). It's the result of years of comments from male cricketers along the lines of Len Hutton's incredulous "women playing cricket is like a man trying to knit". As all historians will tell you (and not purely for self-validation purposes...ahem), history matters. In this case, cricket's male-dominated history matters.
Yes, it's changing for the better. Yes, my cricketing heroes like Atherton and Dravid are now declaring in national newspapers that women's cricket is a Good Thing. But I still believe that in many ways, cricket remains (for want of a better word) Blokey. The default image of a cricketer is a bloke. The default image of a cricket fan is a bloke. Most cricket journalists (and bloggers, let's face it) are men. Most cricket administrators are men.
I could go on more about this, but for now I'll just say this: I love cricket. I'm also a feminist. Sometimes the two things are hard to hold together.
This - the feeble way in which the ICC has chosen to respond to the BCCI's decision - is one of those times.