Mandira Bedi has had a long association with cricket. The actress became a widely known face after she began hosting the cricket World Cups, the Champions Trophy, and the Indian Premier League. However, her contribution to cricket goes even beyond the screen.

Almost two decades ago, the Indian Women’s Cricket Team did not have many takers. The team lacked sponsorships and funds. On the other hand, the men’s cricket team was extremely popular and was laden with sponsorships from various popular brands. The contrast between the two teams was jarring and was also reflective of women in sports were perceived.

Indian Women's Cricket Team

Mandira Bedi had once gone to watch a game. Shubhangi Kulkarni, then secretary of the Women’s Cricket Association of India, asked Bedi that because she has done so much for men’s cricket why doesn’t she step in for them? Following this, Bedi made sure that the women’s cricket team got sponsorships for their matches.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Bedi revealed that she waived off her fee for ads so that it could be put into the women’s cricket team. She was the brand ambassador for a jewellery brand, Asmi. She said, “The money I would have taken for my endorsement will go towards the cricket sponsorship.”

Mandira Bedi and Mithali Raj
Source: Twitter

The brand was equally ecstatic to be a part of this sponsorship. Speaking to the media, a spokesperson for Asmi said, “It is a perfect fit. Asmi looks at the contemporary woman, who is good at her job. The Indian women are very good.”

Mandira Bedi ensured that the brand sponsored the women’s cricket team for a series against West Indies in 2004. In her individual capacity, she got sponsors for the team between 2003-2005.

It was only recently that the BCCI announced equal pay for men and women cricketers. We still have a long way to go.

Also Read: Pretending to Be Boys, Fighting Stereotypes, Here Are The Stories Of Our Amazing Women Cricketers