Born on 8th February 1986, Ekta Bisht began playing cricket at the age of 6. For a decade, her dad had to sell tea to make ends meet after retiring as havaldar from the Indian Army. It wasn't easy at all for Ekta to pursue her cricket dreams. She would play the sport with boys, which often drew an audience as she was the only girl on a male team. Bisht became captain of the Uttarakhand cricket team in 2006. She played for the Uttar Pradesh cricket team from 2007 to 2010. Bisht was selected for the India women's national cricket team in 2011, and made her WODI debut on 2 July 2011 against Australia. There was no looking back after then. Here's a complete interview with Ekta Bisht.
1. How special was the moment when you got to know of your selection in the World Cup Squad?
Playing a world cup is like a dream for every cricketer. I too was living a dream. One of the best moments of my life and shall remain with me forever when I got to know of my selection in the world cup squad.
2. What was the dressing room like on 23rd July 2017, before and after the final match? How emotional was that night?
It was just like another day. We were going strong in the game after defeating Australia and were high on confidence. Everyone was ready to give their best and we did. Unfortunately things changed in the last 5-8 overs. That's the beauty of this game. We were dejected that night. Our feelings torn apart. I cannot explain in words. We shall never forget the night of 23rd July 2017.
3. Let’s go back to the golden days when you first held cricket bat and talk how you fell in love with cricket. When and where was your first interaction with cricket?
Hukka club, that's where it all started. I started my career at the very early and innocent age of 5 along with my brother, my support system. I spent most of the time on cricket field. I also got my first lucky bat at hukka club.
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4. When did you realize your passion for the game and that you want to pursue cricket as a career?
When I was around 14, for the very first time I learnt about the women's cricket team. It got me so excited and full of hopes. I decided I have to become a part of this team and serve my country.
5. How was everyone’s perception towards women’s cricket in your hometown Almora, Uttarakhand? Has it changed now?
Almora, a small town surrounded by the natural beauty of hills will always hold a special place in my heart. Though it was a small town, it still had huge cricket following.
6. Were you equally good in studies? How did you manage academics along with cricket?
Cricket became my first love. However, I tried to give equal attention to my studies. I must credit my family members and teachers for being cooperative and helping me manage both academics and studies.
7. Could you recall the moment when you first got to know of your selection in the National team? Did you dance out of joy? What were your initial few reactions?
I remember that special day of my life when I got a call from BCCI about my selection in the Indian team. It was nothing less than a dream come true moment. I thanked god, my family and friends. I had a flight to catch that day and was occupied with my schedules, hence couldn't celebrate much. But after returning back from the series, I got a very warm welcome from my family and friends.
8. Your father has played a key role in your cricket journey? For almost a decade he sold tea to make the ends meet. How proud is he today seeing your achievements?
Family plays a vital role in your success. I am fortunate to be blessed with such a loving and caring family. Although, our family member size is quite huge, but my father never let us down. He worked even harder so as to fulfill our requirements. I am glad that I am now capable of fulfilling their requirements.
9. Where did you train / practice in your early days since there were no cricket stadiums in Almora?
I spent most of my time in Almora's multi purpose cricket ground where I practiced. I also want to thank my coach who saw the potential in me at his very first sight. The support from my family and coach have made me what I am today.
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10. Take us through the difficult times you and your family has been through in your early years of cricket given limited resources in hand.
Cricket is quite an expensive game because of the costly equipment. Coming from a middle class family, it was difficult for me to buy those expensive gears but my family and coach never let me down.
11. How was it like playing your first ODI world cup and the team managed to play at Lords Stadium in the finals. Was it like a dream come true?
Lord's. Aaha! Nothing can be as beautiful as this stadium. It was a proud moment for all of us. On top of that, it was the final between India and England. We did not win that day, but have surely sparked a revolution in Indian women's cricket. Parents have started to support women's cricket and are letting their daughters pursue cricket.
12. Given the tremendous performance by our Indian team at the World Cup, the limelight has shifted towards us. People have started talking about women’s cricket in India. What do you feel should be done next?
Academies are opening up. Investors are investing in women's cricket. The seeds sown are now fetching the desired results.
13. What’s your say on Big Bash League (Australia) and Kia Premier League (England)? Should there be a similar tournament in India?
I think BCCI is thinking about it. Let's hope for the best.
14. Plenty of felicitation events and ceremonies around to acknowledge team’s effort. How does it feel to be in the limelight and being center of attraction?
It feels good when somebody recognizes you in public and asks for an autograph.
15. How is it like being a part of the Railways team?
Being a part of the railway team is always an honor. As railways has its own sports team, it provides the opportunity to play as well as make the youngsters financially strong by giving jobs in their specific sector.
Read more: Visit Female Cricket website for more such awesome stories and updates
16. If you had not been a cricketer, what would you have been?
A football player may be!
17. Rapid Fire ( Favorite )
1. Movie - Dangal
2. Place to hangout with friends- Kasar Devi ( almora )
3. Cricket player - A B Devilliers
4. Junk food - Tikki , Gol Gappe
5. Holidays destination - Nainital
6. Actor/ actress - Salman / kajol, katrina
7. Most serious cricketer - Mittu di