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Equal Hue project offers leg up for aspiring female cricketers

Equal Hue Cricket is a pioneering research-backed and community-led initiative that charts a pathway for girls in cricket

March 7: The #EqualHue initiative has launched a first-of-its-kind outreach and excellence programme, comprising youth tournaments, financial assistance and technical opportunities, to support girls and women in India who aspire to play cricket.

The Equal Hue project, a movement focussing on gender equity in sport, was founded in 2020 by former India cricketer Snehal Pradhan, author Karunya Keshav and The Sports Law and Policy Centre.

Equal Hue Cricket, conceived under the Equal Hue project, is a collaborative effort involving the #EqualHue team, GoSports Foundation and Meraki Sport & Entertainment. It is a pioneering initiative aimed at creating pathways for aspiring female cricketers from across the country, enabling them to start, stay in and succeed in the sport, while leaving a tangible impact on our country’s socio-economic fabric.

To coincide with Women’s Day 2022, the initiative has launched a tri-pronged programme to:

  • engage girls through Under-16 tournaments in 12 cities,
  • enable those aged 16-23 with scholarships to continue in cricket by offering need-based financial assistance and career support, and
  • enhance excellence through an elite development programme.

Speaking on occasion of the launch, Snehal Pradhan, programme director, said: “We at the Equal Hue project have always wanted to make a difference on the ground for women’s cricket. But first we needed to document ground realities, which we did with the Equal Hue report. Now, having identified the areas to focus on, we move into the action phase with Equal Hue Cricket.

“With an ICC Women’s Under-19 World Cup on the horizon, the under-16 age group must be a special focus. And having almost quit cricket before getting a Railways job, I know how important it is to support players financially and expand pathways for progression. We look forward to developing these with the help of GoSports Foundation.”

Managed and marketed by Meraki Sport & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Equal Hue Cricket is anchored on the premise of developing women’s cricket from the grassroots to elite development, and will focus on providing girls and women with exposure and opportunities, to play competitive cricket, enhance their skills, and progress to professional opportunities in the sport. The platform aims to actively engage over 30,000 aspiring female cricketers, through multiple touchpoints viz. academies, schools, housing societies, camps with IPL team(s) and beyond.

Namrata Parekh, co-founder and director, Meraki Sport & Entertainment, said: “Women’s cricket is certainly India’s second-biggest sport and our mission is to harness its popularity, to further the cause of women empowerment, by amplifying stories of excellence. The construct of the programme, allows for organisations, institutions and brands, to author this change and own the narrative of enhancing the women’s cricket ecosystem in our country, furthering their position as socially responsible leaders, while simultaneously enabling them to create equity within emerging India – driving both brand objectives and sentiment victories.”

Deepthi Bopaiah, CEO GoSports Foundation, who will manage the scholarship programme, said: “Over the past 13 years, we at the Foundation have been a part of the journeys of several Olympic and Paralympic athletes and medallists. We’re now very excited to be a part of and launch the Equal Hue Cricket Excellence Programme and work towards achieving the Sustainable Developmental Goals of the UN through the programme. Cricket truly has its presence felt in India all over, and will be exciting to see the sport becoming a vehicle for social, cultural and economic progress within the ecosystem and beyond.”

At the top of the programme pyramid, the professional excellence programme will focus on enhancing the women’s cricket ecosystem through specialised camps and clinics where technical assistance and career support and post-career planning and preparation are provided to programme beneficiaries.

Added Pradhan: “We invite organisations who have aligned goals, of making a difference for the women of our society through the power of cricket and sport, to partner with us on these initiatives.”

About #EqualHue:

The #EqualHue project aims to chart the way forward for women’s sport in India.

It is built on the Equal Hue cricket survey and report authored by Snehal Pradhan, former India pacer turned cricket commentator and YouTuber; Karunya Keshav, journalist and co-author of The Fire Burns Blue on the history of women’s cricket in India; and the late Sidhanta Patnaik, co-author of The Fire Burns Blue, and commissioned by The Sports Law and Policy Centre.

The report analyses the current situation, identifies areas of work and offers suggestions on improving excellence in Indian women’s cricket. It aims to make cricket the sport of choice for girls and women in the country and set players up for personal empowerment. It has also resulted in a guidebook for girls and their parents and an audio story to inspire and entertain young children.

The campaign aims to be a collaborative effort and has engaged with stakeholders via roundtables and symposiums.

For more on the projects, report and research, visit equalhue.in.

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