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T20 Cricket Could Completely Destroy The Sport. Here’s How

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There was a time when having an illustrious cricketing career was all that mattered for a cricketer. Back in the 1990s and the early 2000s, if cricketers didn’t have a successful international career, it used to be the end of the road for them. During those times, playing cricket for the country was at the top of a cricketer’s priorities. It was a time when Test cricket dominated the international cricketing scene. It was a time when pride was way more important than money.

But today, even if you aren’t a top-notch cricketer sitting on a huge pile of runs, it doesn’t matter as you can still ply your trade in the numerous T20 leagues around the world to make a living. We’re witnessing an era where Test cricket, supposedly the ultimate form of the game, is rapidly declining. It is an era where technique and temperament have been overshadowed by the glitters, jitters and money. The cricketer’s loyalty to the nation is also fast-vanishing.

The emergence of T20 cricket and franchise-based leagues has given rise to the concept of ‘freelancing’ even in cricket. In today’s fast-paced world, T20 cricket has given excitement and thrill to those who are terribly short on time. It has also given clubs and franchises the power to pull crowds by roping in popular international cricketers.

These days, a player is likely to get a hefty sum of money by playing in the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia, the Natwest Twenty20 in the UK, the Indian Premier League (IPL) in India – the list is never-ending. Some players even take premature retirement from their national sides and become Kolpak players for English county teams. Kyle Abbott and Rilee Russouw are two examples of international players who have taken the Kolpak route.

Let us now take the example of Kevin Pietersen, the lanky batsman from England, who can be seen swinging the willow for franchises around the world. After the 38-year-old’s contract was terminated by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), he began freelancing and was seen hitting some massive sixes for the Melbourne Stars in the BBL. Thus far, he has plied his trade all over the world. From the BBL in Australia to the Caribbean Premier League, Pietersen remains a hot property in the world of cricket despite being denied a national contract.

Kevin Pietersen of Melbourne Stars (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Nowadays, there are many cases of players choosing to play franchise cricket over national duty. The likes of Mitchell McClenaghan and Dwayne Bravo have turned down national contracts (for New Zealand and the West Indies respectively) in order to ply their trade in T20 leagues. However, the postponement of the Global T20 League came as a big blow to McClenaghan.

The benefits of playing franchise cricket are immense. Firstly, players can earn several times more while playing for franchises than they earn while playing for their national sides. Secondly, the pressure in a game between franchises is less compared to that when playing for a national team. Of late, cricketers have spoken about the pressure of playing international cricket. In an age of cut-throat competition, if players cannot perform, they’re axed from the side. Under such circumstances, playing county cricket in England (for instance) is a more secure option to ensure a regular income for a player.

But every coin has a flip-side. The standard of international cricket is bound to decline if quality players are lost to franchise-based leagues. Test match crowds are dwindling rapidly. Not many players look forward to playing Test matches at the international level, given the formidable power of these leagues.

The IPL may have provided a lot of opportunities to many players, but has it harmed international cricket more than it has done good? (Photo by Virendra Singh Gosain/ Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The likes of Brendon McCullum and Shane Watson don’t require to search for franchises as they are tried and tested cricketers with a mountain of runs behind their backs. But do spare a thought for players like Tymal Mills and Samuel Badree. These cricketers might find it hard to search for franchises. Freelance cricketers also don’t have regular access to coaches and training equipment – unlike the players who have a central contract.

Maintaining an optimum level of fitness off-season may become an issue for freelancers. Above all, if a freelance cricketer has to take a long layoff (due to injury) or has a couple of bad tournaments, the franchises might just write them off.

But, the cult of freelance cricketers is here – and hopefully, it’ll keep on growing, thanks to these franchise-based leagues. Stalwarts such as Gayle and McCullum would be the big guns for hire, but ‘freelancing’ might not be as easy as it appears for other cricketers who are yet to prove their worth.

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Featured image source: Wikimedia Commons
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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