Indian women's team await lucrative sponsorship deals after encouraging show at World Cup
It has been almost a week since the World Cup final at Lord's but most of India's squad members are yet to be approached for sponsorship
New Delhi: India's women cricketers have attained overnight stardom and are now hoping the handsome financial rewards for their stellar World Cup show will be followed by lucrative sponsorship deals, which their male counterparts attract.
Ten of the 15 squad members have job security as they are employed with the Indian Railways but they feel it is time top corporates also open up to women's cricket.
It has been almost a week since the World Cup final at Lord's but most of the squad members are yet to be approached for sponsorship.
Captain Mithali Raj is among the few who have tied up a sports management company to take care of her commercial interests.
The cricketers may have become household names but they have not yet attracted much interest as far as sponsorship is concerned.
India's star all-rounder Deepti Sharma, all of 19, did not have much clue when inquired about a major corporate showing interest in her. For now, she is just happy that she has got a kit sponsor.
"Vampire has been sponsoring my equipment for a while now. That's about it," Deepti, who hopes to get a Railways job just like the majority of her teammates.
"My father also retired from the Railways so it will be nice if I get to work there too," she added.
The 21-year-old opener Smriti Mandhana, whose form deserted her after a scintillating 90 and 106 in the opening two World Cup games, says she has been approached by companies.
"I have been talking to a few companies about sponsorship. Hopefully things will work out. It will be nice to have sponsors behind us after all the support we have got from the BCCI and Railways," said the Mumbai-born southpaw.
However, leg-spinner Poonam Yadav and left-arm spinners Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Ekta Bisht, have not heard from the sponsors yet.
"I think it is too early to say whether big corporates will invest in us. We have just come back, may be in the coming months, they will show some interest. It is definitely the time women get attention from the sponsors," said Poonam.
"As of now, Railways is the only body which has been supporting me. Terms like sponsorships and deal with companies are new to me. But it is something that we would love to have to boost our financial security.
"Having a women's IPL will also be a step in that direction," said the Bijapur-based Gayakwad, who has her entire family to take care after the death of her father.
India to play one-off Test against England women in June, tour to consist of three ODIs, three T20Is
India women last played a Test match in 2014.
The 100 balls-per-side franchise tournament was meant to have been launched last year but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.