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Mahendra Sharma, Pioneer Of Indian Women’s cricket, Passes Away

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Mahendra Kumar Sharma, the man who pioneered women’s cricket in India through the registration of the Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI) in 1973, has passed away.

As per ESPNCricinfo, he had been ill for a while and was in his early 80s.
He leaves behind a huge legacy in women’s cricket. In 1973, he registered WCAI under the Societies Act in Lucknow, which kickstarted the journey of women’s cricket in the country.

WCAI was in existence for the next 32 years until BCCI took over the operation of women’s cricket in India in 2006.

For the first five years of its existence, Sharma was the founding secretary of WCAI. He was in charge when India got to host its first-ever women’s cricket world cup in 1978. This was when the organization was largely dependent on donations from individuals and the government.

WCAI also got to host the 1997 edition of the tournament, which was won by Australia.

“Mr Sharma set the foundation stone for women’s cricket in the country,” former India women allrounder Shubhangi Kulkarni told ESPNcricinfo.

“His efforts in setting up the WCAI and getting recognition from the world body – International Women’s Cricket Council (IWCC) – as well as the Indian government was huge at the time,” he added.

“He ensured players got the publicity they needed at the time. His passion and vision for women’s cricket at a time when there was no money were unmatched. It started with him organizing the first-ever women’s nationals in India in 1973 as a three-team event. Then it grew to six, eight, and 14 teams. To start from there and then play a key role in bringing the World Cup was quite an achievement,” he concluded.

Under his watch, Team India also played its first-ever Test match back in 1976 in Bengaluru. (ANI)

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