The swashbuckling bat from Bengal, who plays professional domestic cricket for Jharkhand, was the leading run-getter in the recently concluded senior women’s one-day tournament. The 23-year old has certainly stamped her authority in the domestic circuit with this prolific performance.
Female Cricket got in touch with Indrani Roy, a wicket-keeper and a right-hand opening bat, who mustered 456 runs in eight matches, including two unbeaten centuries. Her contribution with the bat powered Jharkhand to the finals of the aforementioned tournament.
Tell us about your early days in cricket.
I started playing cricket at the age of 15. Actually, it so happened that when I was in the eighth standard, I saw a female cricketer going for cricket practice, when I was on my way to my tuition class. I deduced that the cricket coaching center would be somewhere close by. The following day I started going to the practice place and this is how I developed an interest in cricket. Honestly, I have always been interested in sports, and cricket just happened to me. I played cricket for some time when I was in the eighth standard. But then my father asked me to stop playing because I was securing lower grades in school. Though I had stopped playing, I was constantly looking out for cricket coaching where girls would be there. I found one and the coach there Mr. Pachu Gopal Majhi came to my home to convince my father. If sir would not have been there I don’t think my family would have allowed me to play. I resumed playing in 10th standard and since then there is no looking back.
When did you break into the Bengal state side?
I was picked up in the Bengal U-19 team in 2014 and that year we were the champions. I played for four years till 2017 and then moved to Jharkhand for better opportunities. Mr. P.N.Singh helped me during my transition from Bengal to Jharkhand.
While you were playing for Jharkhand, you were picked up to play the U-23 Challenger Trophy. How did that feel?
In 2018 and 2019, I played for India Blue and India C respectively. It was a great feeling. It was a good learning experience. Rubbing shoulders with some of the best players in the country always feel nice. I was determined to perform well at that level. Though I did not have an extraordinary run with the bat, I was pretty good behind the stumps.
Now that you have played for Bengal and Jharkhand, is there any difference in the way the game is played in the two states?
I don’t think there is any particular difference in the way the game is played in the two states. I think the only difference is that in Jharkhand there are more girls in the team, who are of my age or around that, while in Bengal, there are many senior players in the team. Due to a negligible age gap among players, the comfort zone lies in Jharkhand.
In the recently concluded senior women’s one-day tournament, you struck two unbeaten centuries. Which one did you enjoy more?
Honestly, I enjoyed batting in both innings. But if I had to pick one, I will go for the one against Chhattisgarh. In that match, we had to chase down the target of 175 in 31 overs to qualify for the knock-outs. Since we had lost one game, it was necessary for us to overhaul the target in the reduced overs. We achieved the target and it felt surreal. The context and the situation of that match made my century more special.
Jharkhand went on to play the finals against Railways, a team that boasts of Indian players. How was the experience of playing against some of the greats?
We were happy that we had reached the finals but at the same time, we knew that we had a mountain in the form of a railway team to climb. Playing against the champion side felt really nice. Though there was pressure, we as a team were determined to do well. We got to learn many things from the opposition be it with the bat or with the ball.
At the end of the game, we were humbled by Mithali Raj’s gesture. She talked to us, offered batting tips, as well as gave batting gloves.
Jharkhand as a state is slowly and steadily making its mark in the domestic women’s circuit. What are the efforts taken to bring up the local talent?
Jharkhand State Cricket Association has been the backbone of women’s cricket success. The kind of facilities and match practice provided by the state association is impeccable. In addition, we have many local tournaments, in which players from 12 districts feature. There are inter-district tournaments that help to find local talent. Apart from that, we have the JPL (Jharkhand Premier League), which garnered popularity in its very first year itself. Just before the start of the senior women’s one-day tournament we had the JPL and I would like to mention that the tournament helped the girls to build confidence going into the BCCI affiliated competition. In my case too, I played nine matches out of which I was the player of the match in eight of them. I owe my recent success to JPL.
If a girl wants to start playing cricket, what is your advice to her?
First and foremost, finding a good coach is important. Once you have that, work on your basics and strengthen your skills. A good skill set can take you far and as you move up the ladder, develop your mental strength, because, in the end, you need to be mentally as well as physically strong to make it big.
Apart from playing cricket, what are your other interests?
I love writing. I write poems as well as try my hand at writing raps. In my free time, I pursue writing.