Taylor adds new dimension to woman-power

Women jockeys compete with men, and as far back as in the 1930s, Babe Zaharias became the first woman golfer to play a PGA tournament. More recently, Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie have played on the PGA Tour. Professional basketball, professional hockey and the Indy 500 have all seen women competing with men. But these are rarities.

updated: January 30, 2013 14:31 IST
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In the 1980s, whenever an Indian team was doing badly, especially in Bangalore, the cry would go around, part-mockery, part-fantasy: "Drop so-and-so, and pick Shanta Rangaswamy." In those politically incorrect days, that call came with a dual message. It was like telling a batsman that he played like a girl (an insult to the batsman those days, but to the speaker these days). It was also an acknowledgement that Ms Rangaswamy was good enough as a batter and mediumpace bowler to play in the company of men.

Shanta Rangaswamy's role in changing the perception, especially among men, of women's cricket and women cricketers has never been given its due. In the early days of women's cricket in India, the response was rather like Samuel Johnson's analogy of a dog walking on its hind legs – not that it walked well, but that it walked at all.

Shanta was also the spokesperson of the sport, with a fine line in humour. Asked what the essential difference between men's and women's cricket was, she said, "Women don't wear boxes."

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