Interview with Vanitha Viola S - State Cricketer, Umpire and Coach from Hyderabad - Female Cricket - Platform for Women's Cricket

 

 

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Interview with Vanitha Viola S - State Cricketer, Umpire and Coach from Hyderabad

1. In early 80’s - 90’s when cricket was not as popular as it is today, how did you develop the passion towards cricket?

I joined south central railway at the age of 16 and I was the first girl to join Indian railways at the age of 16 yrs. I want to thank Diana Edulji ma'am for giving me an opportunity to serve Railways. Also, I would like to thank all my coaches and players for supporting and cheering me throughout my journey. 

I started my first sub-juniors (u-16) in 1989, my father (late S.Venugopal Rao) was a coach for me. It was because of my dad I developed passion for cricket.

2. Back then, cricket was considered a male-dominated sport. So what were the problems you faced when you started playing cricket?  
Well for me, I didn't have any problems as my parents were fully supportive. 

3. What do you feel has changed from your playing time to today? 

Media coverage, publicity, match fees and number of international matches players get to play today. 
 

4. Which state did you play for and for how many years? 

Hyderabad, played from 1989 to 2008. Represented senior south-zone, Indian railways, Rest if India and India 'A'

5. What has been the most memorable cricket event, which is still fresh in your heart?

There are been so many, but one that stands out is from U-16 match when I and Mithali Raj had a record partnership of 211 runs as openers.

Interview with Vanitha Viola S - State Cricketer, Umpire and Coach from Hyderabad

Interview with Vanitha Viola S - State Cricketer, Umpire and Coach from Hyderabad

6. How difficult was pursuing women cricket in 80’s and 90’s as a career? How difficult was it convincing your parents?
 
It was difficult for my parents to convince me as I was interested in classical dance. (laughs)

7. Has the scenario changed from your time to present time as far as Women cricket is concerned?

Yes girls have more options career options now as compared to cricket back then. 

8. Who was your cricket role model whilst growing up? 

Rajini Venugopal (female), my sister and Rahul Dravid (male), the wall of Indian Cricket. There were number of coaches who were my role model and has inspired me. Firstly, my dad Mr. Venugopal Rao.
Mr. Vijay Paul
Soundarrajan Sir
Ms. Anitha Mishra.
Late Ibra
N. S. Ganesh
Scinu Sir

I owe a lot to them for my success. 

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9. What do you feel is still a challenge as far as Indian women's cricket is concerned? How can we overcome these challenges
?
Women should be allowed to play 'A' grade league matches with men leagues team. Men should allow women in their team as their team mates and we should get green signal soon.  

10. What is your take on the role BCCI has played towards women's cricket?  
It's good to see that BCCI is taking immense interest in nurturing women's cricket. I'm sure that future is bright for upcoming talented cricketers as well. 

Interview with Vanitha Viola S - State Cricketer, Umpire and Coach from Hyderabad

11. What do you think about the present status of India women cricket team? Do you think the team is ready to overcome the void of senior players like Mithali or Jhulan in next 3 years or so if they retire?

Its the best team we have right now. Well, Indian team will take time to fill in the places of Mithali and Jhulan if they retire in next 2-3 years because they are the backbone and strength of our Indian team. Youngsters like Smriti and Harmanpreet will definitely take charge of Indian team.

12. What advice do you have for girls who want to play professional cricket today? How can they represent India? 

Girls should take up cricket as their career, invest time and efforts how they do it for their studies. They just need to practice, worship cricket and be positive. 

13. Who is your favorite player now and why? 

Rajini Venugopal - Because of her pristine straight drives that no one can ever beat. Rahul Dravid - because of his front foot neat defence. People do tell me that I play defensive shots just like him. (laughs).

14. Did you take up any administrative role after you stopped playing cricket? Highlight the roles and responsibilities you have served? 

After I stopped playing cricket, I took up umpiring. I have completed my level 1 course from BCCI and I was the first lady to pass level 1 from Hyderabad. I have completed one day, two day leagues, Ranji practice games, Moin Dowla tournament from 2015 to 2017. I am currently serving as women cricket coordinator for Hyderabad Cricket Association, completed my level 'O' Coaching from HCA.  

Interview with Vanitha Viola S - State Cricketer, Umpire and Coach from Hyderabad

15. What's your say on the current domestic structure of Indian cricket? What does it lack and how can we overcome it?
 

It's awesome to see women's cricket picking up fast, but it lacks job opportunities in sectors namely banks, airlines, postal etc. Only railways hire women cricketers and has been a great support till date. 

16. What are your views on our Female cricket as an initiative? What suggestion do you have for us?

I thank female cricket for giving cricketers like me a platform to share our story, cricket journey with the world. Keep up the good work. 
Vishal Yadav
Author: Vishal Yadav
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