On the 3rd Episode of Cricket With Queens, we had one of India’s reliable all-rounders. She hails from Maharashtra but has all the ingredients to capture the world. Chat starts with Vishal recalling the strange tale of a Ghost from Derby during 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup.
Mona adds her experience of a haunted hotel and the start of the 2017 world cup campaign in Derby. There were widespread Rumours of wandering haunted spirits in the vintage age-old hotel. 2017 was not only memorable for the haunted spirits but also for the cricketing spirit that reached a new high in India.
It was the turning point for women’s cricket in India as Vishal says. Mona recalls the close final and nervousness on reaching finals for the first time. Apart from a few seniors, the team had no idea of playing a knockout final. There were a packed crowd and pressure from the stands was inevitable. Nonetheless, Mona reveals that the 45-days with the team were something different. She and the whole side never felt away from home.
They bonded with themselves in a manner that journey made that happen. Moving ahead to changes and the recent transformations with regards to women’s cricket, the smiling Indian batter gives the credit to BCCI. She says that matches for women have increased significantly. There have been visible changes that have inspired women to take the game as a serious alternative for the future. Out of these visible changes, she has observed women having different nets and even grounds. They are not segregated from boys in any conservative manner. Most importantly, parents have voluntarily enrolled their daughters into the game.
Mona’s journey with sports started with volleyball. The ground was closer to her house. She played cricket and volleyball till 15 and chose cricket over volleyball. She was selected in under-16 trails. It was her sports teacher who got her into a match where she scored a half-century. Coming from a sporting background, she was never into books. She bunked periods and was often sleeping in the class especially during History lessons.
Teachers often used to throw chalks to get her head up. Boards happened in between her rise in cricket and passing was always a struggle for her. Fortunately, her parents never stopped her sporting life. Her mother was the only earning member but was courageous to ask Mona to pursue cricket knowing that the game was expensive. Mona unknowingly played with a tennis bat and got her half-century from that only.
Her younger sister, Sapna Meshram also plays cricket and she had a big role in Mona’s life. Sapna manages the household and all the responsibilities as Mona is often busy with her cricketing fixtures. Her friends in the Indian team are many but her bond with few takes the stage.
She met Veda for the first time NCA camp in 2011 and has been best-friends with Veda since then. She then met Reema Malhotra and Akanksha Kohli. These three players are the constituents of friendship for Mona. All have their roles in the relationship. Mona is also known for enjoying the game and often gets her teammate to dance. Seniors, too, match their steps with her on the beats. From a humble household to the national side, it is encouraging to see how the journey unwinded for Mona. She has remained the same fun-loving Mona from her childhood.