In the now, a year often feels like an eternity. But when you look back, it feels like it went in a flash. This past year has been a bit like that for me. I struggled to get through it, but now, I don't quite recollect why.
12 months ago, to this day, the first issue of the Women's CricZone Magazine was released. While I was not officially part of the organisation, having scrambled to help put together the first issue, I felt very much a key member of the team.
A month earlier, when Yash Lahoti, CEO and co-founder of the organisation, had called to ask whether I was willing to take up the task of putting together the magazine, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
As a child, when I first started following women's cricket - cue the pictures of Mithali Raj in her floppy hat grinding England to the ground on her way to 214 - I knew that all I wanted to do was make sure people knew the women's team was playing. I couldn't quite fathom why they got so little attention for playing the same game that the men did with just as much passion and dedication. They had to be seen - they more than deserved it. So, when Yash asked me if I would join, I had no hesitation in saying yes.
Thus a month of scurrying ensued - sleepless nights, early mornings, endless conversations, hundreds of emails and much panicking. It was insane. But not once during the process did I ever question why I took up the challenge. There were two things pushing me on - the fact that this was for women's cricket, and the support of Sidhanta Patnaik.
Well done @WomensCricZone on the launch of this magazine. Delighted to be part of the first edition.— Smriti Mandhana (@mandhana_smriti) May 10, 2019
Download here: https://t.co/5leBYyNQTb pic.twitter.com/5ak1UQGFc4
It was in fact Sidhanta's idea to start the magazine. He threw the idea to Yash, who upon his suggestion, came to me with a plan - something for which I will be forever grateful.
A lot has happened since that evening on May 10, 2019. For one, India have become a force to reckon with in T20Is, Australia dominated the year - surprise, surprise - and oh, 86,174 people watched the T20 World Cup final between India and Australia at the MCG! So yes, women's cricket is gaining popularity (and fast). Looks like we got our timing just right with the decision to release when we did. Trust Sid to do that!
To everyone involved in the creation of the first two issues of the magazine - thank you! Each one of you has been wonderful to work with. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would ever get to interact with such incredible writers. I'm still a bit starstruck!
To all the cricketers - past, present and future - as I have said before, what we do is for you. Our aim at Women's CricZone is to provide the best possible coverage of the women's game. This magazine is dedicated to each and every one of you, all around the world, playing at every level. We see you, we're watching, and we believe all your efforts count.
Finally, to all the fans and followers of the women's game - thank you for your support. Here's to many more years of entertainment!