Japanese Women’s Cricket in Focus

Japanese Women's Cricket Shizuka Miyaji runs in an All-Star cricket game
Shizuka Miyaji taking a run.

Have you heard of Japanese women’s cricket? You might have. There is another article about it on this blog. And they play on the international stage. Well, on a beautiful Sunday in April 2021, I photographed a game. The teams contained national squad members. It was exciting. It was also another chance to use my new XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens.

I had been at Sano International Cricket Ground in Tochigi Prefecture the previous day. That was also for Japanese women’s cricket. This time, it was a completely different place. I went to Kanagawa Prefecture. I was building up the kilometers on trains in those days. The amount of time I spend traveling is incredible! But, if it is for photography, it is always worth it.

BST Nagasawa Sports Ground was the venue. It was near Ikuta Station in Kawasaki City, next to Tokyo. That’s about a twenty-minute train ride from Shinjuku, followed by a long walk! It wasn’t the Sydney Cricket Ground, but it is a quality place.

The event started with a social women’s bash in the morning, which was fun. Hopefully, the participants learned more about cricket and will play. In the afternoon, we saw the main event. I was looking forward to seeing some fireworks.

The teams, J-Bash Pinks and J-Bash Yellows had appropriately colored shirts. I walked around and took pictures. The players’ excitement was almost palpable. It was easy to tell they were eager to get the game underway. Fist bumps flew that day!

Umpires Naotsune Miyaji and Darshak Bhuptani oversaw the game. Both of the men have served Japanese cricket for a long time. Naotsune was a member of Japan’s National Men’s team. Darshak played with Yokohama’s Alpha Quashers.

In the end, the game turned out to be a low-scoring affair. J-Bash Yellows made 102 for the loss of four wickets. The Pinks struggled to eight for 70 runs.

In retrospect, that should have been expected. None of the players played a lot of cricket the previous year due to the pandemic. The game was their first in a while. It should have been considered a warmup match. While no one came out with a huge individual score, several chipped in with useful ones.

The pick of the batters was Nao Tokizawa. She slammed 29, including two huge sixes, from 25 balls. Her attitude towards batting was positive and aggressive.

Shizuka Miyaji got the highest score of the day. She made 34 from 51 balls, including one six. I noticed she also bowls useful left-arm spin.

The best bowling figures went to Kiyo Fujikawa. She ended with three wickets for nine runs off four overs for the J-Bash Pinks. Her bowling was effective and economical. At 18, she is young. How she develops in the future remains to be seen, but she has the hallmarks of a good Japanese Women’s cricket player.

And the fielding? With the limited batting display, the players didn’t get a real workout. Yes, they dropped a couple, but they took a couple of screamers too.

In the end, we got a taste of everything. There were some glimpses of what the batting might be. The bowling seemed capable. Some of the fielding was excellent. It was a pity we didn’t see more runs, but I was satisfied. 

So, that was how the 2021 Japanese women’s cricket season began. The game was a warmup. More competitive stuff was around the corner. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them below.

My 2021 Japanese Women’s cricket photo gear:

  • Camera body: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lens: Fujifilm XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

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