Cricket has been blessed with stars. They are normal beings like me and you but their passion is limitless. The dedication for the game is unparalleled. When people like this dream big and make it big, they emerge as inspirations. The growth of the game has ensured that now names like Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana are household now. However, there was a time when little masses knew that women played cricket too.
It is not wrong to believe that the due share is not allotted to professionals who chose the game before it entered into general lives. Rumeli Dhar is the new guest on Female Cricket podcast and her candid chat with Vishal Yadav makes it one of the most light, yet impactful, listens.
It was the year 1996 and just 13 years ago India has tasted a world cup title under the leadership of the great Kapil Dev. Cricket, in India, was growing with Sachin Tendulkar. It was a brave thing for anyone to dedicate himself to the game. One must remember that neither BCCI was cash-rich nor IPL was a thing back then.
In those days of 1996, a 12-year-old Rumeli gave herself to cricket. While remembering those days and the audacity of dreaming to play cricket, she says that she, often, was often the only girl in the practice sessions. There were dozen of guys and they would oddly notice a young girl between them. Adding to the tales around her training days, she recalls the societal conditions of those times. The cricketer in Rumeli was discovered by her uncle who coached too.
He, too, was dragged down by the orthodoxies. She says that her uncle was criticized for letting a girl hold a bat and even dare to play cricket. From a time like these, stories like Rumeli’s are the exception. There was something greater than fate, at play, here. Rumeli had parents that knew the value and joy of proximity with sports. She reveals that her family was connected with Football as they hail from Kolkata. Interestingly, she got the much-needed support from her mother.
She liked cricket and it was the current Indian Coach Ravi Sashtri that she adored. Her uncle was not only her coach but supported her financially too. Rumeli reveals later that she was into gymnastics as well. It was a beautiful game by stars. Rumeli turned the tides and made it big. Fighting with an orthodox society, she went on to take the Indian side into the finals of the 2005 World Cup. In the first T20 match played by Indian women in 2006, she was, interestingly, the batting and bowling opener.
Her passion, her family, and all other things gave India one of the best openers that women cricketer could see. Her story is an inspiration for all those with passion and resistance. Passion to make it big and resistance to leaving small things behind.
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