AUGUSTO RODRIGUES | NT
The Goa 2019-2020 starts with Board of Control of Cricket for India (BCCI) deputing an all women team officials for the Goa versus Kerala Vijay Merchant U-16 match at Goa Cricket Association (GCA) Academy ground in Porvorim on Friday.
This is the second time in the history of BCCI and the first of GCA that an all women match official team has been appointed. The first BCCI match with an all women team was held in Pondicherry in November 2018.
Meenakshi Mangla is the match referee and Vrinda Rathi and Janani N are the two umpires that will see the conduct of the three day tournament in Goa.
“Umpiring and playing are two aspects of the game but both have one thing in common – enjoyment. Being involved in cricket, in any way, is fun,” admits Vrinda who played cricket for Mumbai University before taking a plunge into umpiring.
“The responsibilities are different as a player and coach but the fun quotient remains the same. As a player, I played and as an umpire, I conduct the game,” explains Vrinda.
Janani’s story is different but yet on a similar track. She never played cricket but was always drawn to the game. “I watched a lot of cricket and learnt a lot through books about the laws of the game. One day, I got an opportunity to apply for the course and that is how I am here today,” says Janani.
“Everyone makes mistakes in life and therefore making a mistake during a game is but natural. It is not that we make mistakes deliberately. But after making a mistake, one has to make a genuine effort that the mistake is not repeated,” believes Janani whilst talking on mistakes and the role of umpires.
“Error is part of the game,” interjects Vrinda.
Match referee Meenakshi was a cricketer before going through a cooling off period of five years and ultimately applying for the post of match referee. At 31, she is the mother of a seven-year-old son and believes it is because of the cooperation of her husband and in-laws that she is enjoying a new lease with cricket.
“I come from an orthodox family where women have a different place in society. At first, there were quite a few eyebrows raised when I wanted to be a match referee. But now that I have settled in my new role, my family has made adjustments too and we are now a big extended family of cricket,” says Meenakshi.
“Being a woman makes no difference whether we are umpiring a match played by man or woman. The games played by both is the same, only the pace differs and it will not be too long before women reach the standards reached by men,” thinks Meenakshi.
“During the time of Kapil Dev, men used to score around the same number of runs women score today. At that time scoring around 200 to 300 was the norm. It has increased drastically now and women cricket will follow the same path,” predicts Meenakshi.
“Apart from the physical differences, we do not see anything different that a man could do from a woman and vice versa. The job is the same and the principles to be adhered are the same. Both are appointed to do a good job and both do it. It is the understanding of man and woman that is important,” avers Meenakshi.