Roshni Chasmawala, born to Indian parents grew up in USA. She studied psychology and aspired to become a doctor, but destiny had some other plans for her. Being a die-hard Bollywood fan from the beginning, Roshni in her teens got introduced to cricket.
Cricket being an alien sport in USA, it was very difficult for Roshni to follow the sport. But that didn’t affect her passion for the game and she took the onus of promoting cricket in USA on herself, which led to the foundation of NCCA. Roshni’s journey is an interesting one and will definitely leave you inspired to give back to the sport, in whichever way possible.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. Tell us about yourself?
My name is Roshni Chasmawala. I was born in Big Spring, TX, USA and currently live in New Jersey. I am a very easy-going ambitious person who loves positivity. I value using my time in meaningful things. I am not someone who gives up easily and someone who only listens to her heart. Oh, and I guess I am a cricket stalker in a way. (laughs).
2. Since when are you watching/playing cricket?
My cricket craze started out when I was younger, just out of fascination. I did not really start watching cricket until about 2008, but properly once I was in high-school. The time differences were always hard to keep up with matches. Once I had my own freedom, I was able to choose watching matches over my sleep, sometimes over classes as well.
I would not consider myself a cricket player. I love to get throwdowns and bat whenever I can, but never played properly. In college was the first time I had others around me to help guide me and teach me a bit about playing. That is when I practiced a bit.
3. Where did you get this love for Bollywood and cricket? Is it hereditary?
The love for Bollywood came before cricket. I think Bollywood was instilled in me since my parents are Indian and they would watch Bollywood movies often and they still do. I used to love watching Bollywood movies because there would be so many songs embedded in the movies. I would always start dancing while watching the actors and actresses. Through movies, I learned about cricket and I drew fascination towards it. Bollywood is hereditary; however, I wish cricket was! Then maybe I could ask my dad to give me throwdown, (laughs). My parents were fond of cricket in their days when they were in India, but they were never crazy about it. When they came to America, my dad became fond of American sports.
4. Being born and raised in the US (which was alien to cricket in the 90s), what attracted you to cricket?
Cricket is still much alienated to the American public. They have gotten to a point where they know a sport such as a cricket exists; however, they are unaware of even the basic rules. I enjoyed watching sports when I was younger. Cricket became my favorite because of how complex it was. I thought it was very difficult to grasp compared to other sports. This kept the fascination growing, which turned into a cricket-craze.
5. Were your parents/siblings into this sport? Do they follow it now?
My parents were into cricket growing up, but when they moved to America not as much. My younger sister has never followed the sport. The most she knows is just from me talking about it. My parents will watch some India matches and IPL matches here and there, but the same passion is not there.
6. Give us a glimpse of your educational background?
My educational background has no relation to sports! I studied psychology and pre-medicine, medical humanities certificate along with a biology minor and innovations minor. I have completed my bachelor’s degree at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I wanted to become a doctor, perhaps a psychiatrist or a sports medicine doctor. Growing up I was always interested in the medical humanities side. At the moment, I have switched over towards business since due to some personal thoughts, medicine was not where I could grow in the way I wish to.
7. How did this love for cricket develop? Who did you idolize back then? Who are your inspirations now?
As I learned more and more about the sport and started watching matches, it somehow just gave me this inner joy. It is very hard to explain the feeling I would get. I used to be very emotional when it came to cricket. Happiness, sadness, anger, rage, you name it! India had to win, otherwise you would not see a smile on me for the next few days. Over the years though, I have started to appreciate the sport more. I will always be an Indian Team fan, but I rather enjoy good cricket.
Based off the time I started watching, MS Dhoni was someone you I was very fond of (still am). He is someone who always gives hope. The way he has led as a captain and his skills as a wicket-keeper are priceless I feel. I also idolized Virat Kohli then, and still do. He is someone I look up to both on and off the field. Both being scorpions, we share our aggression. That is something I love seeing when he is playing. He shows his emotions, which I admire. The way he has progressed in his career is pretty remarkable and unreal.
I also admire Mithali Raj a lot as well. Playing for the Indian Women’s Team, she has inspired young girls all over into becoming cricketers. She is someone I look up to a lot because I see her as a fighter against her own self. She is always trying to improve herself as a player.
8. What was the turning point in your professional career? Are you completely into cricket now?
My turning point was going to Cricket World 2019 in England. Up until then I only wanted to become a doctor, but leading up to CW19, I realized a few things about myself that could not allow me to pursue medicine. I could not treat a patient as business and saw how medicine in the US has become business oriented for me to carry through. Realizing this, I had more time to set aside for cricket, so I decided to do bits of cricket freelancing to get involved in something I have always loved, but just been a watched through a thin box. Being at my first in person cricket match, I realized this is where I want to be whenever I got the chance to do so.
I would not say I am completely into cricket, as I do other things as well that are not cricket related. However, I do try to look for any opportunities I can find to get involved.
9. Tell us about your stint as Media and Communications Manager for the ICC World League 2? Was it your first one?
This will always be a very memorable role since my home team, USA Cricket, were a part of it and it was held in my home country as well. This would be my first role I had with both ICC and USA Cricket. I had a few other roles in USA, and as an intern during the CWC19. Before this, I was also an MC for the India v West Indies T20 matches that were held in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
As a Media and Communications Manager, I got to learn a lot about ICC insides on the needs of hosting a tournament. I was able to learn different rules and regulations, and my favorite topic was learning about anti-corruption from the ICC Anti-Corruption Official that came.
10. What are the qualification criteria to apply for the Media and Communications Manager role?
I do not feel I have the right answers for this question. In my case, I am not sure if I was qualified, since it was not a role I was studying for. I just consider myself lucky and grateful for the opportunity I got.
11. Tell us more about NCCA? How and where did the idea come from?
NCCA, or National College Cricket Association is a non-profit organization for college cricket teams in USA. Many colleges in America have college teams. My friend Babar Arshad and I thought to have an organization that was more student-oriented and hence NCCA happened. Now it has grown to an organization with over 40 colleges just in a year.
— Roshni Chasmawala (@cricketgirl20) April 12, 2020
12. What was the idea behind “Bubble Tea with Rosh?’
“Bubble Tea with Rosh” was a dream come true. If you meet me and get to know me, at one point I will ask you — “Have you ever had bubble tea?”, If you say no, I will make sure you have your first bubble tea with me. I am bubble tea obsessed. It’s a drink created in Taiwan that is hugely popular across the world, but many people, especially many cricketers have not tried it.
“Bubble Tea with Rosh” brings two of my favorites, cricket and bubble tea together. I have done two interviews so far on my Cricket Girl YouTube channel.
So excited to have my first episode finally published. Please Subscribe and Like: https://t.co/yMPdP9BFVw #niroshandickwella #cricketgirl #cricketinterview #srilankacricket #slcricket #dickwella #cricketlovers #cricket #interviewsports #cricketer #wicketkeeper pic.twitter.com/kgnCOoIZth
— Roshni Chasmawala (@cricketgirl20) January 29, 2020
13. How many cricket projects have you worked in?
I have been fortunate to work on various cricket projects from a college-level to an international level. For me, it does not matter what role I have or what platform it is, I just want to learn.
I try to take on whatever projects that come my way, to increase my knowledge of the sport. Cricket is beyond the ground. There is so much that goes on into cricket, that people are not aware of. A list of projects only look good on a CV, so I rather share the importance of making the most out of experiences and always be willing to learn. When you watch a match on TV, you do not realize all the hard work that goes on and all the people that are involved. I will share that my favorite projects so far have been anything that involves USA Cricket and College Cricket. I really want to see cricket grow in my country to great heights.
14. What are your plans for the next 5 years?
I do not create plans anymore because often plans can get canceled due to outside reasons. I do dream a lot because when they become real, the feeling is unreal! However, in the next 5 years, there are few things that are a dream for me.
I want to be a part of an IPL season with any role. I want to do some type of interview with Virat Kohli. That is a dream for me. I would like to see how my life plans out a day at a time.
15. Highlight some of the ongoing projects that you are involved in?
At the moment, since cricket is at a halt, I am just trying to focus on my Cricket Girl channel to come up with more video ideas for the future.
As a free-lancer, projects come up suddenly. But there are upcoming projects that I am very excited about, but it all depends on the COVID-19 situation.
However, I will be releasing some fun and interactive video interviews with players very soon on my Cricket Girl YouTube channel.
16. Your thoughts on our platform Female Cricket? Any suggestions/feedback for us that can help us improve further?
Female Cricket is an innovative and meaningful concept. Often, females get a bit sidelined when it comes to any sports that are more male dominated. A platform like Female Cricket gives the ability for female cricketers to stand out and stand strong. Society generally considers it more acceptable for a male to go into sports compared to a female. In the last few years, Women’s cricket has changed for the better and I hope it continues to evolve. Female Cricket is doing a wonderful job in helping the change. One thing I would love to see are more interactive video interviews!