Two members of the UAE women’s indoor side hope the team’s participation in the Indoor Cricket World Cup can inspire more girls to play the format.
Chaya Mughal and Roopa Nagraj are among the players in the 12-person squad as hosts UAE make their debut in the global tournament against England at InSportz Club on Saturday afternoon.
The indoor side is pretty much made up of players of the outdoor national team, who have won the last two Gulf Cups as well as finishing runners –up in the UAE Women’s International Cup in December.
While that has helped the women’s outdoor cricket grow in the UAE, the indoor version is majority played by men. But Mughal and Nagraj hopes the Indoor Cricket World Cup can be the starting point of boosting the numbers of female indoor cricketers.
“Most definitely it can,” said all-rounder Nagraj, who is a coach at the ICC Academy. “The fact that the Indoor World Cup is being played in Dubai is a big boost for the girls playing here. There are around 150 girls who are playing cricket in the UAE but the indoor game is relatively new.
“We have a lot of inter-academies that play the outdoor game. Hopefully this should be a good tournament and we put up a good show and impress a lot of girls to play the game one day.”
Mughal echoed her team-mate’s view and hopes there will be a lot of females in the stands during the games.
“Cricket in the UAE is rapidly increasing and I’m sure in the coming days, weeks or coming months, there will be girls who will be inspired to play the game especially in the indoor version,” said the fast-bowler.
“I want females to come out and support us and watch us play. It’s a big thing and we hope that when they watch us play, we can do them proud and hopefully they can follow in our footsteps and play indoor cricket.”
— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) September 5, 2017
The side has been stepping up their preparations in the last week and Nagraj says the format certainly poses its own challenges but are relishing the chance of playing indoor cricket.
“At first it was a bit of a challenge because we were playing outdoor cricket but we have picked up the game pretty well,” she said.
“It’s a very fast game and all of us are involved in the batting and bowling and fielding. It’s pretty quick compared to the outdoor game and with every ball that is bowled you have to be quick and be more alert.”