JANUARY 30, 2023
New Delhi, INDIA – They can’t be anonymous anymore. But, even in a cricket-obsessed India, very few would have heard of them before their campaign in the U-19 World Cup culminated in the country’s maiden ICC triumph in women’s cricket.
Who are they? The PTI lets you in on their background.
Shafali Verma, captain, opening batter
The Indian U-19 captain from Rohtak is by far the most decorated of the lot having already played in three World Cup finals at senior level. In November 2019, aged 15 years and 285 days, surpassed her idol Sachin Tendulkar to become the youngest to score a half-century in international cricket.
Shweta Sehrawat, opening batter
The South Delhi girl took up cricket after trying her hand in volleyball, badminton and skating. Fell cheaply in a small chase of 69 in the title clash, but played a massive role in taking India to the final. Topped the run charts with 297 from seven innings, scoring at an astonishing average of 99.00 and a strike-rate of close to 140.
Soumya Tiwari, vice-captain
Started playing cricket with a wooden paddle used by her mom for washing clothes. Daughter of an election supervisor at Bhopal Collectorate, she was initially rejected by her coach Suresh Chianani, who later made an exception for the batter. Scored the winning runs in the seven-wicket win over England.
Trisha Reddy, opening batter
Daughter of former U-16 national hockey player Gongadi Reddy, the girl from Bhadrachalam in Telengana possessed excellent hand-eye coordination at an early age. Excited, her father sold his four-acre ancestral farm land to further her cricketing ambitions.
Hrishita Basu, back-up wicketkeeper
Like many others, it all started with gully cricket for her. The girl from Howrah, Kolkata is the third player to have come up from Cricket Association of Bengal’s grassroots development programme. Hrishita seized the opportunity after getting a break against New Zealand in November.
Richa Ghosh, wicketkeeper-batter
Hailing from Wriddhiman Saha’s town, Richa is a hard-hitting batter. Grew up idolising MS Dhoni but it was her father, Manabendra Ghosh, who helped hone her power game. Hogged the limelight in India’s series against Australia last month, with vital knocks of 36 and 26.
Titas Sadhu, pacer
Family runs an age-old club and, as a 10-year-old, would accompany their cricket team as ‘scorer’. One of the stars of the final, her arrival followed the retirement of the iconic Jhulan Goswami, both hailing from Bengal. Bowls fast, generates bounce and swings it both ways. Tried becoming a sprinter, like her father. Also secured 93 percent in 10th board exams only to drop out to pursue cricket.
Sonam Yadav, left-arm spinner
From Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh, the 15-year-old’s father Mukesh Kumar works in a glass factory. Started by playing with boys and seeing her interest, Kumar enrolled his daughter in an academy. Began as a batter, but switched to bowling on coach’s advice.
Mannat Kashyap, left-arm spinner
Is quicker in the air and has an action that is more rhythmic than Sonam. The Patiala girl grew up playing gully cricket with boys before a cousin pushed her to take up the sport seriously.
Archana Devi, off-spinning all-rounder
Lost her father to cancer before the start of her cricketing journey. Was born in a poor family in Ratai Purwa in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district. One day, while searching a ball hit by Archana, her brother Budhiram died of a snake bite. A career in cricket was what her brother wished for Archana.
Parshavi Chopra, leg-spinner
This Bulandshahr-born girl was a skating enthusiast but was also fond of watching cricket. Rejected in her first attempt, she was selected in the state trials a year later. Finished the World Cup as the team’s wrecker-in-chief with 11 wickets from six matches, including 4/5 against Sri Lanka.
Falak Naz, seam-bowling all-rounder
Did not get to play any game in the tournament but, in the warmup match against Australia, the right-arm pacer returned with tidy figures of 0/11 from three overs. Father Nasir Ahmad works as a peon in a UP school, while the mother is a homemaker of a one-room house in Katghar, Allahabad.
Hurley Gala, all-rounder
Born in a Gujarati family in Mumbai, Hurley made her senior debut aged 15. Grabbed attention by taking the wickets of Shafali Verma and Deepti Sharma in a domestic match.
Sonia Medhiya, batting all-rounder
From Haryana, she played four matches in the tournament and returned wicket-less, giving 30 runs from five overs.
Shabbam MD, medium pacer
Tall with a high-arm action, the 15-year-old from Visakhapatnam played two matches and bagged one wicket. Father is in Navy and he was also a fast bowler.
Courtesy/Source: Press Trust of India / PTI