Cricket like any other sport is followed by billions of lovers around the globe. However, when you turn your face towards the sub-continent, this is not a sport anymore. It turns into a religion where players are worshipped by their teams and players play under unprecedented crowd and pressure. For such die-heart followers of the game, nothing comes closer to a dream than to know their idols more closely and frankly besides 20 yards.
Female players are the new rising stars. The viewership, the fandom, the game, everything seems to be reaching a new high in women’s cricket. One such sensation gave a few minutes discussing in-depth her cricket journey in the 2nd Episode of “Cricket With Queens” by Female Cricket. Rajeshwari Gayakwad, one of the pillars of the Indian Women’s Cricket team, who was also a part of the T20 World Cup 2020 Squad that reached the Finals in Australia earlier this month, sat down with the team for a chat.
She started with her early days when cricket was not a career for women in India. She mentions her dad as a source of strength who got her enrolled into the nearby Cricket Academy for women along with her sister. Interestingly, her family has talent written all over it. Her elder sister played hockey for her district. Rameshwari, her company in the academy, has represented Karnataka State too. Her brothers sing, play badminton and one plays tabla and is awarded thrice on the district level.
She remembers her father and his love for the game and the admiration for the music that flows in the family. Her father, being a primary school teacher, motivated his children to pursue their interests. Rajeshwari got herself selected into the state side after two months she joined the academy. This happened in 2007. Her dad got her daughter to practice catching and cope with harder balls. She was then selected into the Karnataka state team. Zaheer Khan was her inspiration.
Her starting days were not easy as she had to wear altered whites for the first selections and borrowed gear from her partners. Her dad emerges as an inspiration and the force for everything that Rajeshwari has achieved. Further, she recalls her first match for Karnataka and the interesting tale behind her first Daily Allowance of 9000, which meant so much to her at that moment.
After bowling for a year as a pacer, she changed to her famous orthodox. Her stint as pacer lacked control and on advice of her coach, she turned into a spinner. She recalls the body ache when she started bowling spin. It was her practice that she got settled into the spinning role. The most memorable part of her cricketing journey came when she was playing challenger’s trophy in Ranchi.
She was informed by her coach Ms Kalpana Venkatachar that her name is included in the Indian women’s team. Her first call was to her dad. On her first match against Sri Lanka, she took two wickets. She was nervous, as she recalls, in her outing and cried when she got the first jersey for India. However, when she takes the ball, there is nothing nervousness but only wickets to look onto. Her story is an inspiration not only for budding women cricketers but also for all of us. Anyone who looks to turn back or step down with the challenges, remember a lady battled all odds to represent her nation. Salutes to her dad and her spirit to never give up.
This episode will be released in 2 Parts on Female Cricket’s YouTube Channel. The 1st part is already out. Click here to Watch it.