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Wishing all the participating countries in the upcoming women’s World Cup qualifiers, starting February 7, Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday urged fans to wholeheartedly root for their teams.

“I wish all the teams the very best for the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers and would urge all of you to wholeheartedly support women’s cricket, for the sake of cricket,” the batting maestro wrote in a column for the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The former India skipper said the growth of women’s cricket has acted as a catalyst for gender equality and rights.

“The women cricketers have caught the fancy of cricket aficionados around the world with stellar performances and have increased their audience.”

“They have spawned interest in young girls to play the sport and also helping generate a larger following for the game at a time when the game is seeking to expand its footprint globally and become relevant in non-cricket playing countries,” he said.

“While gender bias has been the bane of many aspects of the world, the sports narrative seems to be different. It is heartening to see that cricket is making strides in helping women occupy their pride of place in the annals of cricketing history,” he added.

The batting maestro also hoped that Indian stars such as pacer Jhulan Goswami and captain Mithali Raj will be at their best in the tournament.

“There is our very own Jhulan Goswami, who is quick and gets that extra bit from the wicket and Mithali Raj, our seasoned campaigner from India,” he said.