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The Indian team for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2020 has just been announced a couple of days ago. Do you know your team? Here’s help with some of them.
Those of us who have watch the Cricket World Cup passionately would hardly know that the World Cup of our women’s cricket is also coming.
Cricket is the most loved sport of India, and we’re all quite aware of the famous faces of our cricket team. From Kapil Dev to Virat Kohli we recognise almost every Indian cricket player. They are considered some of the biggest celebrities in our country: be it fame, money, or status, they have got it all, more than any other celebrity.
But these are the men – we have an excellent women’s cricket team that has been putting India on the world cricket map. But do we have any clue about our Indian women cricket players? Maybe one or two of them, but certainly not like our men’s cricket team.
Recently, the Indian team for ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 20-20 has been announced.
Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice captain), Shefali Verma, Jemima Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Taniya Bhatia (wicketkeeper), Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaekwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy.
Many women playing in this team have come up through hard work, done with passion, never giving up though they weren’t rewarded as much as our men are, in a sport where men have traditionally ruled. However, in their journey of cricket these women were not alone.
Their families have stood strong by them. Some were supported by their fathers, someone’s mother shielded her daughter, and some of them were motivated by their brothers and sisters. Here are a few their inspiring stories.
16 years old
16 years old Bengali girl Richa Ghosh has never played an international match, but her talent has brought this opportunity in her life. She was just four and a half years old when she started playing cricket, and decided that she would become a cricketer. Her father was a part-time umpire from Bengal, and he was the one who guided her daughter to fulfil her dream.
15 years old
Shefali Verma hails from Rohtak, Jhajjar, Haryana. She started cricket at the age of 8 with the domestic cricket association.
A unique story that is associated with Shefali is that she started taking cricket training as a boy because there was no cricket academy for girls in her city then. Her father Sanjeev Verma requested every possible academy for his daughter’s admission but no one gave permission. Finally one day the determined father asked his daughter to cut her hair and she got admission.
Many relatives taunted Shefali for playing with boys. They would say that this girl will ruin her family’s respect. But where there is a will, there is a way. Today the same people pat her back on her success.
23 years old
The Mumbai cricketer made her brother her inspiration when he was player for Maharashtra’s U-16 team. At the age of 9 Smriti Mandhana was selected for Maharashtra’s Under-15 and at 11 she played for the under 19 team.
28 years old
Arjuna Awardee player Poonam Yadav hails from Agra (Uttar Pradesh).
Her initial journey in the world of cricket had some hurdles but her mother Munni Devi and father Raghuveer Singh understood their daughter’s love for cricket. They saw her unstoppable passion for the game. Initially, she would not go to the field to practice for 2-3 days at a stretch as she had to practice with only boys and there were some issues, but soon her brother started going with her, and the rest is history.
21 years old
Harleen Deol of Punjab will play her first World Cup.
As a child, she used to play street cricket with boys, which led to neighbours raising questions on her ‘upbringing’. This was the time when Harleen’s mother stood by her like a strong pillar, and encouraged her daughter to move forward without any fear.
22 years old
When Deepti Sharma was 9 years old, her brother used to go to practice cricket. She would also sit in the stadium and watch the game for hours. Once, a woman cricketer saw the young Deepti throwing a ball and got impressed. That woman cricketer suggested to Deepti’s brother that he let her join in to play cricket. Without any hassle, her father Bhagwan Singh happily encouraged his daughter to play, and then she has never stopped.
Chandigarh’s Taniya Bhatia‘s father was himself a university level cricket player but after some years he took up a banking job. So he understood his daughter’s dream of becoming a cricketer and always motivated her. Taniya is now the wicket keeper of our women cricket team, who never drops a catch.
Perhaps you did not know them, but now you know. These women and their families are an inspiration for the country. So do invest the time to watch their game – you will indeed feel proud. Maybe your daughter will be next player of a proud Indian women’s cricket team.
The Women’s Cricket World Cup is scheduled to begin on February 20. Do watch.
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