“We were almost out of 1997 World Cup due to an inexperienced Bus Driver,” recalls Anjum Chopra

A legend of Indian cricket, especially in the women’s circuit, Anjum Chopra recalled a hilarious story when the Indian team almost lost a World Cup match because no one knew the way to Feroz Shah Kotla Ground. The incident was narrated on Gaurav Kapur’s Spotify Original Podcast ’22 Yarns.’

 

Anjum Chopra
Anjum Chopra

 

Chopra was a massive presence in the Indian team in the 90s and 2000s – a time when very few Indians knew about the existence of a women’s team. Pioneers, like herself, has played an indispensable part in the immense growth of cricket among women. Anjum Chopra is now an esteemed commentator, and this incident traces back to the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup.

Anjum Chopra spoke about the several hardships the women’s contingent faced, one of them being, “During the 1997 World Cup, we were staying at DLTA – Delhi Lawn Tennis Association. We were the poor cousins of million-dollar babies so we were accommodated wherever there was no rent or any other cheap option.”

In this interview with Gaurav Kapur on a popular Podcast, “22 Yarns”, Anjum said, “We were to play a match against Sri Lanka, our first match. So, we got on the bus and left for the stadium [in the morning], and we knew the play won’t start on time because it was raining.”

Chopra goes on to say, “After about 10-12 minutes – I was sitting at the back – someone from the front called for the Delhi residents. And when I got to the front, I was told that the driver doesn’t know the route to Feroz Shah Kotla!” She recounts the funny story, adding that she only knew the way to the stadium from her house, and in the absence of GPS during those times, they kept circling round and round back to the same place.

Toss of that encounter against the Lankans was scheduled at 8:30 am, and the team captain and management’s presence was necessary. At the risk of conceding defeat to a walkover, the captain and vice-captain of the team rushed off the bus to hail a taxi. But, they weren’t going to reach Feroz Shah Kotla just yet, “as it turned out, even the taxi driver didn’t know the way to Feroz Shah Kotla,” said Anjum.

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When the players finally managed to reach the stadium more than 30 minutes after toss at 9:05 am, they were instructed, “Please go straight to the dressing rooms and don’t tell anyone that you have just reached.”

The 43-year old hung up her boots in 2012, in an illustrious career spanning 127 ODI’s, 18 T20I’s and 12 Test Matches in the Blues for India. She scored a total of 3,645 runs in her magnificent innings in the game of cricket.

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