On a beautiful Sunday in April 2021, I photographed a women’s All-Star cricket game. The teams contained members of Japan’s national team. I was very excited as it was in the T20 format.
The previous day I was at Sano International Cricket Ground in Tochigi Prefecture. That was to photograph the national team women’s trials. This time 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, it was for cricket photography, so it was worth it.
BST Nagasawa Sports Ground was the venue. That was near Ikuta Station in Kawasaki City, next to Tokyo. From Shinjuku, I had a twenty-minute train ride 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 about cricket and will want to start playing. 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. As 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 were a common sight.
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 was a low-scoring affair. J-Bash Yellows made 102 for the loss of four wickets. J-Bash Pink struggled to make 70 for the loss of eight.
In retrospect, I should have expected that. 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. For the J Bash Pinks, she ended with three wickets for nine runs off four overs. She 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 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.
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So, that was how the 2021 Japanese women’s cricket season began. The game was a warmup. More competitive stuff was around the corner. You can see the Japan Cricket Association website here. You should get in contact with them if you want to find a team. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them below.