JOHANNESBURG - When Chloe Tryon smashed Indian off-spinner Anuja Patil 10 metres over the advertising board, depositing the ball into the Taverners Stand at the Wanderers last Sunday, it made many wonder about the point of bringing the boundary rope in so far for the women’s international between India and South Africa.
The rope was about four metres in from where it was for the subsequent men’s international. The stipulation for women’s matches as regards the dimensions of the field are that the boundary rope can be no more than 64m (70 yards) away, and at least 50.29m (55 yards) from the pitch.
At the Wanderers last Sunday, the dimensions of the field, coupled with the speed of the outfield, virtually eliminated the running of twos. Throughout Sunday’s third T20 International between India and South Africa, there were only three twos in the entire match. The only time three was run was off a thin outside edge passed the wicketkeeper. It was a case of one or boundary, almost eliminating the need for good running between the wickets.
South African captain Dane van Niekerk is not overly concerned however, even if it does take away somewhat from the strengths of two of the important batters in the SA line-up; Sune Luus and Mignon du Preez, neither of whom are big hitters in the Tryon mould, but rather seek to hit gaps and run hard between the wickets.
“The dimensions are something we are still getting used to,” said Van Niekerk. The reason behind the change was to make the women’s game a more exciting product, which for the most part has worked.
“When you see where women’s cricket is now, from where it was...the shot Chloe played, that six went over the mens boundary comfortably...the ladies are getting stronger it’s just a matter of when we can change the dimensions.”
“It is difficult (not scoring twos) but we also need to become more innovative. We only have four fielders out and there is always a spot you can target. We must maybe learn to get brave and not just play conventional shots.”
That’s unlikely to happen soon, not while the ICC is still trying to build the profile of the women’s game. Sunday’s match, the third of the T20 series, following a three match One-Day series, was the first of the Indian women’s team tour to be broadcast on TV.
“When people speak about women’s cricket, they still go ‘is there a women’s side?’ The country needs to get to know us, to see what we can do , that there is skill in it,” said Van Niekerk.
“We all grew up with men’s cricket, I did. However, I have to commend Cricket SA and Momentum, the work they’ve put in, to increase our profile has been immense.
“The televised games we’ve had, last season against West Indies and England, and then last year’s World Cup...our profiles have really shot up.”
“We are hoping that the country can see we have a brand of cricket,a style of cricket... that shot Chloe played, we can clear mean’s boundaries, maybe not as often, but we do. It’s a product that hopefully people will become more interested in, which is, again, what we’re hoping for in this series.”