Born in Parsa village, which is 110 kilometers away from Shimla, capital of Himachal Pradesh, Renuka Singh is only the second cricketer from the state to represent India after wicket-keeper-bat Sushma Verma.
The right-arm speedster made her international debut in 2021 against Australia and featured in all the three T20Is in the series. Though she accounted for just one wicket in the series, she was impressed with the ball as she bowled at a decent pace and maintained consistent lines and lengths.
Her father, Kehar Singh, who left for heavenly abode in 1998, when Renuka was just three years old, would have been proud of his daughter if he was around. Renuka said, “Today, dad must be super-happy and a proud man. It was his dream to see either me or my brother play for India. I have lived up to dad’s dream.”
Despite losing her father early, Renuka was determined to become a cricketer, and to fuel her burning desire her mother worked relentlessly. Renuka’s mother supported the family well and ensured that her daughter’s dream to play cricket was not shattered.
Renuka said, “Despite the hardships, mum never let us understand the pain she took to run the family. I get emotional every time mum calls me. I have mixed feelings since dad is not there to see me play for India but I know he is watching me from heaven.”
Just like many other girls in India, Renuka grew up playing cricket with boys in the backyard. Her uncle, Bhupinder Singh Thakur, recognized the talent and admitted Renuka to an HPCA (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Academy) run cricket academy in Dharamshala. Pawan Sen was the then coach in the academy, who taught Renuka the basics of fast bowling, coached her to use the seam, and encouraged her to practice the action, which would keep her injury-free.
Soon Renuka made it to the U-16 and U-19 teams of the state. She also has a hat-trick at the U-19 level, which grabbed her attention. In 2019, playing for the senior state team, she picked up a record 23 wickets in the one-day tournament, which got the national selectors interested in her.
After making her international debut in 2021, she was recently named in the Indian squad for the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup to be played in New Zealand from March 4 to April 3.
Source: Ashwani Sharma for Outlook India
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