Teenage is a fragile age. The ideas, beliefs of a person are shaped in this stage of life. One of the defining traits, however, has to be a wandering mind. There is always an abundance of curiosity and one feels like doing every second thing that he or she encounters.
On the second episode of Pioneers, we have someone who made it to the national team of the world’s most populous nations. Jaya Sharma has been one of the most vital members of the Indian side when the sport was changing its shape for women players. She shares dressing rooms with the greats of the game but a lot in her journey may seem too cinematic or filmy as Indians like to call it.
She, in her candid chat with Vishal Yadav, revisits her starting days when she learned for the first time that women play cricket too. She says that she was into football as well as hockey as a child entering her teen stages. The name of the game reached her through the senior girls in her college. In no time she was into the senior camp and was training with then North Railway side. She was instantly spotted by Rajesh Nayyar who was managing the action.
Jaya was in the senior squad now. She was only 13 and was going to play her under -16 cricket with the likes of players like Anjum Chopra. As time went ahead, complications grew for Jaya. She reveals that she loved the game of football and choosing cricket over the same was not very easy. The confusion was about to end soon though.
A 12-year-old Jaya was playing a tournament with stars like Anju Jain, Anjum Chopra, and others. She was standing to collect an award for the best upcoming youngster from India’s first world cup winning captain Kapil Dev. Kapil in his know style asked the girl for her age. When Jaya said she was just 12, he told her that Sachin played for India when he was 14.
Kapil Dev said that she should also do something like that. While recalling this incident, Jaya, in the episode, says that the words from him were life-changing. With two sentences, Kapil Dev ensured that Jaya Sharma stays in cricket. It is amazing to see how professionals in Indian women cricket loved the game and nurtured a passion for the sport that was not as rewarding back then. Icons like Jaya Sharma need to be celebrated.
To watch the complete episode, turn to Female Cricket’s Youtube channel.