Often life on a cricket tour can be a whirlwind cycle of training, playing, recovery, gym sessions, flights, official engagements and bus journeys.
But on Tuesday, members of the Australian one-day international squad had a moment to hit pause on cricket and pay a visit to the local community in Vadodara, gaining an eye-opening insight into lives and experiences completely foreign to their own.
Rachael Haynes, Nicole Bolton, Alyssa Healy, Ash Gardner, Elyse Villani and Nicola Carey visited a women’s support centre in Vadodara that provides security, counselling, guidance and information to support women in distress who are victims of domestic violence.
There, they heard first-hand from survivors of domestic violence, local women who bravely stood up and shared the moving stories of the extreme challenges they’ve faced, and the role the support centre had played in their ongoing emotional recovery.
“We got to hear stories from a few local women regarding domestic violence and the way they deal with it here and the systems they have in place,” Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy explained.
“It was an eye-opening morning and something I’m very glad I got to be a part of.”
Had an eye opening and yet amazing morning at the Women’s Support Centre here in Baroda. We got to hear first hand about the wonderful work these amazing ladies are doing to help support the victims of Domestic Violence here in Gujarat. The Government have helped to set up these centres to help support and protect women from such violence. Thank you to those who were brave enough to share their stories with us. If we all work together we can stop the violence!! #empowerment #domesticviolence #notokay
It’s the first time the Cricket Cares program has been incorporated into an international women’s tour and for Healy, who is playing in India for the fourth time, it was an experience unlike any other she’d had on the subcontinent.
“It was a great learning experience as to the women’s movement happening over here and how they are trying to better empower women and educate them on how potentially the rest of the world is dealing with these issues,” Healy said.
“It was great for us to sit there and listen to some very brave women tell some of their stories, and to ask questions of them and about the support they’ve been given and how they’re dealing with things now. It was great to be a part of.”
The women’s support centres have been set up around the Gujarat region, all attached to police stations to provide an additional safety network.
Commonwealth Bank Tour of India
Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Australia T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
India ODI squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Sushma Verma, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Sukanya Parida, Pooja Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma
England T20I squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Kate Cross, Alice Davidson-Richards, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Katie George, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Anya Shrubsole, Bryony Smith, Nat Sciver, Fran Wilson, Danni Wyatt
Warm-up match Australia beat India A by 321 runs. Report
Warm-up match Australia beat India A by seven wickets. Report
First ODI Australia won by eight wickets Scorecard
Second ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, March 15
Third ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, March 18
First T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 22
Second T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 23
Third T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 25
Fourth T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, March 26
Fifth T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 28
Sixth T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 29
Final Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 31