When Mandira Bedi waived off her fees to help Indian Women's Cricket Team
Glamour and glitz aside, Mandira Bedi played a key role in getting sponsorships for the Indian women's cricket team between 2003-2005.
It is no well-kept secret that actress Mandira Bedi has played an instrumental role in the gambit of Indian cricket, transforming both the men's as well as the women's cricket landscape with her presence as well as commitment. In fact, Mandira Bedi's contribution to women's cricket can be traced back to a time when success wasn't a regular visitor for the Indian women on the 22 yards. But Bedi, way back in early 2003-04, had recognised the potential of the then Mamatha Maben and Mithali Raj captained side and decided to help their cause and tow them towards limelight.
While sponsors made a beeline for men's cricket in India, the case was definitely not so nearly two decades back for Indian women's cricket. Sponsorship and funds were as rare as it can be for women's cricket while the picture for the men's game was equally stark and jarring.
Mandira Bedi, who during the 2003-2005 tenure was the brand ambassador of Asmi, a diamond trading corporation dealing in jewellery, ensured that the brand came in to become the title and team sponsors of the women's cricket team for a series of ODI's against West Indies in February, 2004.
Mandira, back then, had no qualms waiving off her fees for the love of cricket and had mentioned, "The money I would have taken for my endorsement will go towards the cricket sponsorship," in an interview with The Telegraph.
In fact, even Asmi was glad to be onboard this as they felt that the linkage made perfect sense for their brand as well. "It is a perfect fit. Asmi looks at the contemporary woman, who is good at her job. The Indian women are very good," a spokesperson for Asmi had mentioned back then.
Mandira's tryst as the sponsor as well as the brand ambassador for the Indian women's cricket team, along with Infosys, stretched out between 2003 to 2005 and in those three odd years, women's cricket also grew in India, thanks to the sponsorship Mandira availed for the team.
Currently, the Indian women's cricket team is in Australia and is scheduled to play a multi-format series comprising three ODIs, the day-night Test and three T20s, starting on September 21. The Test will be played from September 30 to October 3 in Canberra. After losing to the Australian side in the World T20 final last year, the team has revamped itself and will be looking to draw first blood as the series begins on September 21.