Cricinfo chimes in through Raf Nicholson:
Guest Column : Why mixed cricket will not help develop the women's game | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo
Personally, I disagree with most of that.
Sure Women's cricket relies less on power and intimidation and more on skill and technique, but that doesn't directly mean women can't play with men. I mean, bowlers like Praveen Kumar and batsmen like Mushfiqur Rahim aren't intimidating anyone, but if they can play and compete and do well with big tall fast bowlers and dangerous hard hitting batsmen, why can't equally skilful women do so too?
I actually played cricket with the Singapore U-19 women's wicket-keeper batsman in an inter-University cricket match. It was a small ground, 35 overs a side game, and she managed to score 20 odd opening the batting and even hit our opening bowler for a six (well timed pull shot). And she did a pretty good job behind the stumps.
She wasn't as powerful or intimidating as the other batsmen, but did a good job by just playing the right shots to the right ball, timing them well, and running between the wickets. She then had no troubles keeping to their quick bowlers (who, to be fair, were probably just under 120 kmph at best).
I've thought the same as someone mentioned above, about why can't women play with men when it comes to sports such as Golf, Snooker, darts, etc. Even Ten-pin bowling. I worked at the Asian TenPin bowling championships, and saw how women bowling on the same lanes as the men managed to occasionally outscore their male counterparts. There was no difference in the playing conditions between men and women bowlers. Yet they were separated by gender, and there are no big mixed-bowling competitions around the world; always a men's and a women's division.
When I asked about this, the players told me that the reason this is done is because if they were mixed, you might get 3 or 4 women who end up in the top 10 of the competition, but overall if you rank the best 100, you'd only get around 30 women and 70 men. It's just too uneven that way. And it is very, very rare that the overall best bowler in these competitions is ever a women - 99% of the time the best bowler overall average-wise is a man. If the competition is mixed, not enough women would be qualifying and would be playing. By splitting by gender, you allow more women to participate.
This, I think, would be very true for cricket. Women would have to compete with men for the niche role of slow-but-accurate medium pacer, or small-but-skilful batsmen, slow-and-loopy-but-cunning spinner. Very few, if any, women would be able to make the cut as a quick bowler, or a big hitting batsmen. Even stuff like fielding at the boundary requires speed and a good throwing arm, and men are likely to be superior at that.
Still, I do think it should be allowed that if a woman wants to play grade/club and even domestic cricket with men, they should be allowed to try out, and if good enough, should be selected. Maybe allowed women to play with men domestically parallel to their own women's international and domestic cricket.