Sushree Dibyadarshini means business. She leads Odisha U23 team and recently captained India Green in Challengers Trophy U23. India Green finished at the runners up spot. She is now called to play in Women’s IPL for the team Velocity. When Team Female Cricket talked to her about her journey, she was hopeful of making her debut for India this year and she also realizes the gravity of performing in the upcoming women’s IPL. Sushree told us about the support she got from her family and also about the challenges faced by women cricketers in Odisha. To our surprise, the off-spinner has also acted in a Tamil movie.
What inspired you to take up cricket as a profession?
I personally believe cricket is the best and the most popular game in India. I was a child when I started playing, so it was just only for fun but it was only after that I found my passion and my love for this game. I have got a very supportive family who has always supported me for playing.
Since how long have you been playing cricket and how would you define your journey till now?
I started playing gully cricket with tennis ball with my friends when I was in 3rd standard. Actually I would like to take a moment and thank all my friends for playing with a girl and always being supportive. In 9th Standard I took it as a profession and joined a club, Jagurti Cricket Academy under Khirod Behera, my coach. Till now, I have played all the domestic tournaments and now I am hoping for that last one step for which I had started playing cricket.
If not a cricketer, then what would you have been?
If not a cricketer, then maybe an actress. I think I am good at it and I have worked in a cricket based Tamil movie named ‘Kanaa’, where I lived a character called Deepika.
How was the experience leading team India Green in U23 Challengers Trophy?
India Green is something very close to my heart because for the 7th time I got the opportunity to play Challengers Trophy and all the time for Green team and this time with a big responsibility. We had a very good time, enjoyed each other’s company and played good cricket.
Do you think India Green could have done better in the final match, after losing to India Blue?
Definitely. We could have done a little better. We could have added 60-70 runs more but still we fought and fought well and managed to grab 5 or 6 wickets. Very happy with the team effort. Our team had two India players, Radha Yadav and Priya Punia. Some youngsters and all the players showed their characters and a very co-operative staff. In short, it was a complete team. And India Blue played really well.
You took 5 wickets in 3 matches in the tournament, were you satisfied with your performance?
I won’t say that I am satisfied. Still there are some areas like batting where I could have added some more runs. I am happy with the performance but not satisfied.
You also lead Odisha U23 team. Do you think girls are becoming more aware about taking cricket as a profession in Odisha?
Yes, definitely after the World Cup, things are changing. Girls are becoming more serious about cricket. They are spending time in cricket, understanding the value, changing their eating habits and improving fitness. The most important thing is that the parents are supportive, that’s what a girl needs.
Your toughest match till now?
Every game is tough but it is all about handling the pressure. But yes, when I was playing against Australia A, I got to know why they are the champions and there I realized that when you play with these teams, you cannot afford to make even a small mistake.
Against which team have you enjoyed playing the most?
Recently we played against Bengal in Senior T20 league stage. They are definitely a strong team and I played a superb innings of not out 43 runs in 36 balls, took 2 wickets and hit the wickets directly for a run out. Everything in that match was fun. I really enjoyed being on ground that day and received Player of the Match medal. It was a memorable match.
Do you think there are enough facilities for women in Odisha that want to take up cricket as a profession?
Facilities were there but nowadays, because of lack of funds they are not being able to provide us enough facilities like camps, matches. There are so many talented players but because of the financial problem they are not able to practice or buy any expensive stuff. So I feel finance is the main issue here in Odisha. I request East Coast Railways to make a women’s team so that many players from Odisha including me could get a proper job. I also request Odisha Cricket Association to do something about this because boys are easily getting jobs but not the girls.
Do you see yourself playing for India in the coming years?
Definitely. This is every player’s dream and so do I. I am doing all the hard work, hopefully this year I will make my debut but before that I have to make an impact in this IPL.
You will be playing for Velocity under the captaincy of Mithali Raj in the upcoming Women’s IPL, how do you see this as an opportunity?
This was a dream that I will play under Mithali di and now it is a dream come true moment for me. I am very excited to learn to enjoy to live it to the fullest and I will give my 200% in the tournament and grab this beautiful opportunity.
How are the preparations for the women’s IPL going on?
Yes, preparations are going on from hitting the gym to spending extra hours in the ground. I am all set for the IPL and eagerly waiting to get a chance in the match.
Which team do you see as a bigger threat? Supernovas or Trailblazers?
Every team has a good combination. We just have to play to our strength and enjoy being on the ground and lift the trophy in the finals.
What would be your message to the young girls that want to play cricket?
Just follow your dreams. Keep working hard because I strongly believe that hard work always pays off. There are no short cuts to success and always believe in yourself.
Any suggestions for our initiative, Female Cricket?
I am new to Instagram but I have heard about this page from so many friends. You guys are doing an amazing job, promoting women’s cricket in this male-dominated game. Huge respect from the bottom of my heart and I would like to thank you on behalf of every woman cricketer. Thank you for this tremendous effort.