March 20 was a unique day in Indian cricket fixtures. The men’s and women’s T20 sides were playing at the same time. Virat Kohli was plotting England’s downfall in the series-decider in Ahmedabad, while the girls were trying to start afresh against South Africa in Lucknow.
The impact of the scheduling was visible in the streaming figures; according to Hotstar estimates, nearly 5 million fans watched the men’s game. The women’s contest peaked at 18,000 and a little beyond.
The women’s team returned to action after 378 days — the last appearance being the T20 World Cup final against Australia in March 2020 — but players such as Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who only play the one-dayers, were out since November 2019.
Gaps between tournaments is no new phenomenon in women’s cricket, the coronavirus pandemic widened it.
The world plunged into lockdowns of different…