1. How special was the moment when you got to know of your selection in the World Cup Squad?
When you work hard for something and you get that thing in reward, that’s when you realize that you have worked in a right direction.
2. What was the dressing room like on 23rd July 2017, before and after the final match? How emotional was that night?
When we assembled in the dressing room before the match, it was pretty much like we are playing just another match. We went through our routines and made sure we approached with positive attitude in the game. But after the match when we lost we were all sad and in tears because everyone in the team, right from the support staff had worked really hard for this day and we couldn’t make it. That night was very disappointing.
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?
I used to play volleyball initially. When I was 14 yrs old, my school teacher once took me for cricket trials because they wanted someone to represent their school. I performed well (u-16) and I got selected for next round. But cricket being an expensive game and my mother was the only one working that time, I didn’t want to burden her with expenses. We were not financially very stable and I knew that mom needs to run home and arrange for other basic necessities. Baba Rock sir who took me to the trials had seen my game and was quite impressed with it. He said,” Aap bas whites pehenke aao, baki hum kar lenge.” (You just wear white uniforms and come, we will manage the rest). The seniors were very supportive and that’s when I felt I should continue playing cricket. My mother backed my decision and asked me to pursue whatever I loved doing.
4. When did you realize your passion for the game and that you want to pursue cricket as a career?
When my teammates and my coach insisted that I should take up cricket seriously, I had to chose between Volleyball and Cricket. It was a tough decision. I finally chose cricket.
5. How was everyone’s perception towards women’s cricket in your hometown? Has it changed now?
Initially they didn’t even know that women’s cricket exist. Everything has changed drastically post World Cup 2017. Everybody has started appreciating our efforts.
6. Were you equally good in studies? How did you manage academics along with cricket?
My school teacher was really annoyed with me. She used to complain my mother that I only play and sleep in the class the whole time. Haha!
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?
It was quite normal because I come from a sports family and they know how to react to situations and not get carried away by them.
8. Your mom has played a key role in your cricket journey? Who else from your near & dear ones has contributed the most to your success?
My mom is my backbone and my sister Sapna is also a cricket player. She has been a great support throughout my journey. Also a lot of credit goes to Mr. Satish Paradkar for improving my game.
9. Who were your role model / inspiration whilst growing up?
I used to admire Sachin Tendulkar until I saw Mithali Raj.
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.
In my family, only my mother was the bread-earner and cricket being an expensive sport, I could not afford basic cricket gears. But my mother never stopped me from playing. She only pushed me harder. My mother’s hard-work has really paid off.
11. How was it like playing World Cup finals at Lords Stadium. Was it like a dream come true?
It was very special because it has changed the mindset of people here in India. People have started showing their interest towards women’s cricket.
12. 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 over it. Let’s hope for the best.
13. 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?
Parents should motivate their daughters to play cricket now so that our future generation look promising.
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?
Absolutely! It feels great when somebody recognizes you in public and asks for selfies and autographs.
15. How happy are your mom, dad and relatives. How was the reception back home in Nagpur?
It was very overwhelming because we were out in England for almost 45 days, away from our family-members, representing our country with only aim to win the World Cup.
And when I reached Nagpur airport, all the media and the family were taking pictures and ofcourse VCA (Vidharba Cricket Association) people came to felicitate us. When I entered my colony, there were drums beating, loud music playing to welcome us. We danced a lot and the entire colony members celebrated with us.
16. Lot of positives to take from the World Cup event. What do you take back home from this tour?
Our 45-day memories where we came as an individual, but went back as family.
17. If you had not been a cricketer, what would you have been?
I would have been a volleyball player.
18. What is your take on our platform – Female Cricket? Would love to have your piece of advice / feedback.
Female cricket is doing a tremendous work to promote women’s cricket. Keep following and keep promoting us.
19. Rapid fire round:
1. Movie: Bhag Milkha bhag
2. Place to hangout with friends: Gwenz designer wear
3. Cricket hero: Sachin Tendulkar
4. Song: Mile Ho tum humko
5. Junk Food: I love cheese
6. Place to visit: Goa
7. Actor/Actress : Hritik / shushmita Sen
8. Most mischievous cricketer (in the team): Nobody
9. Best buddy (in the team) : Veda
10. Most serious cricketer (in the team) : Non other than Deepti Sharma