She started playing professional cricket when she was 14 and within a year found a place in the domestic state cricket team. Vadodara's Tarannum Pathan, off-spinner and a right-hand batswoman spoke to Female Cricket about her cricket journey and highlighted the struggles she faced in her early days. She considered Irfan Pathan as her inspiration and aspires to wear the Indian blue jersey soon. Amidst the financial crunch and early setbacks, Tarannum fought against all the odds and made her way into the India-A team last year. Excerpts from the interview here:
1. What age did you start playing cricket?
I started playing when I was 14.
2. Walk us through your initial (childhood) cricket days?
I remember, I used to play with my uncle and brother with tennis balls.
3. How did you manage your education and other commitments alongside cricket? Did you enjoy studying?
I honestly hated studies. Now, we hardly get time to focus on academics due to cricket commitments.
4. Who were your cricketing role model / inspiration whilst growing up?
I drew my inspirations from Irfan Bhai (Irfan Pathan).
5. In a family of six and with very little resources in hand, it must have been very difficult to choose cricket as a career option. Was it difficult / easy convincing your parents?
My parents were always supportive of my decision. We did see a lot of financial challenges initially, but my uncle and parents were always there to support us, both mentally and financially. I owe them a lot for my success today.
6. Your father had to stop driving his auto-rickshaw after he was diagnosed with cancer. How did you cope up with the situation and what kept you going in such difficult times?
At that point, I was mentally shattered but Irfan Bhai was always there beside me. My friends played a huge role in my life during those tough times. I used to focus more on my practice games to keep myself calm and my mind diverted. I had to say positive, not just for myself but also for my family members. My mom was in huge trauma after the incident. It was a tough time for all of us.
7. What age did you make your domestic cricket debut? Were you excited with the opportunity or nervous with the expectations from you?
I made my debut at 15. I was very nervous because it was my 1st debut match, but excited at the same time. Mixed feelings, sort off!
8. A cricket match you played, still remember and have enjoyed the most?
I remember, it was in Baroda. Our team needed 12 runs in 1 over and I was batting. In the last ball, we needed 3 runs. I swung the bat hard, and the ball went one bounce to the boundary. We won that match and I was on cloud nine.
9. You are the first woman cricketer from Gujarat to be picked for a national camp. How has the journey been so far? Highlight some of the high-low moments you’ve witnessed?
The journey has been great so far. I was the youngest one in the national camp and enjoyed every bit of it. Harmanpreet mentored me and taught me to stay positive.
10. How was the experience playing for India A against Bangladesh A in Belgaum last year? What did you learn?
It was a great experience and my first one too. I learnt that if you want to play good level of cricket, you should have good fitness level. Without which, you cannot survive in the long run.
11. You have led Baroda and even the West Zone team. What has captaincy taught you?
Captaincy has taught me to stay calm and focused. It helped me stay positive and keep patience. After captaincy, my self-belief improved and I learned a lot.
12. Another Baroda player with whom you have shared major partnerships, Radha Yadav recently made it to the international team for South Africa tour. How happy are you with her success?
Partnership has been with all my teammates. No doubt, Radha is a great player. And we all are happy for her success.
13. Which has been the turning point in your cricket career?
It has to be the NCA camp and my India A debut.
14. How eager are you to make your national debut? When do you think would that happen?
I am very eager and excited to make a national debut. I am waiting for the debut moment since many years. I am sure to achieve this dream very soon. I am very positive about making my debut for the country.
15. Your views and suggestions on our “Female Cricket” platform?
It's a great platform for aspiring female cricketers. Female Cricket is very supportive. It is because of Female Cricket that we get to know about every news and updates from women's cricket circuit. Everybody deserves to know about our female cricketers and this team is doing a great job.
16. Answer in one word (your favorite):
2. Place to hangout with friends
A shopping mall
3. Cricket player
5. Junk food
6. Holiday Destination
7. Actor / Actress
Salman Khan and Deepika
8. Best friend in the team