How 3 Nepali Female Cricketers overcame difficulties to play for their country?

Choosing up a career in sport is not easy for women. And when it comes to playing cricket in Nepal, it is never a cakewalk for girls. Very few people would know that Nepal women were the first team of their country to win the under 19 ACC tournament, a few years earlier than the men’s team to do that. Still, there is not enough support and facilities available for women to play cricket. Amid all these difficulties, 3 players – Sita Rana MagarAshmita Kharel, and Aarati Bidari have risen above circumstances to fulfill their dreams of playing the sport. What are their stories? Read on to know.

Sita Rana Magar Aarti Bidari
L-R: Sita Rana Magar and Aarti Bidari

1. Sita Rana Magar was always interested in sports. She played football and it was in 2004 when she started playing cricket. She is a southpaw, which gives her a natural advantage in the sport. While she was in school, she represented the Region 5. Thereafter she was selected in the national team and even represented Nepal in its first international women’s cricket tournament in 2007. She is also recruited as a player for the Armed Police force.

Earlier her father didn’t support the idea of her playing cricket. He didn’t believe that girls could play and make a living out of this sport. Her mother was always supportive. But things changed when she started playing international cricket. Her family got recognition due to her achievements. Nowadays her father is worried about the weather on her match days and keeps a tab on her schedule, says Sita to The Annapurna Express.

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As a national player, Sita has seen the highs and lows of the sport in her country. As compared to the under 19 results, the senior women’s team hasn’t seen much success in recent years. She believes that dedicated coach and trainer, more matches and training sessions could help improve their game a lot. People investing in private leagues can boost cricket for women in the country and encourage more girls to take up the sport.2. Ashmita Kharel was introduced to the sport by playing gully cricket and in 2013, she started playing professionally. Since then she has been representing Region 3 in various tournaments. She also organizes various sporting events as a coordinator. Recently, she was accepted into an online master’s degree in sports management with a full scholarship from the Johan Cruyff Institute.

As per Ashmita, being a full-time cricket player is difficult for women in Nepal. The reasons being fewer matches and training sessions. She has grown up playing cricket with her brothers but she hopes that the current generation of girls will get the opportunity to play with the senior female players and get inspired by them.

3. Aarati Bidari recollects her earliest memories of playing cricket – that was standing outside the boundary lines while her brothers played. Her job was to throw the ball. That was around 12 years ago. Since then, things have changed for Aarati. Now not only she gets to play cricket but has also represented Nepal in international cricket. She also has a club named Rising Cricket For Women which helps aspiring girls to learn the sport.

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Aarati faced many difficulties on her journey to become the cricket player that today she is. On her selection day, her dad who was her biggest supporter passed away. After that, she had to face many financial constraints. She used to spend the whole day around her college to attend the training session in the evening so that she can save the 10 bucks of the transport money.

Female Cricket interviews Aarti Bidari – Rising Cricket for Women in Nepal

While the journey was not smooth, she made sure that her club helped young women cricketers who had limited support to play the sport. As said to The Annapurna Express, Aarati is more recognized in other countries than in Nepal. Once a young girl had asked her to teach how to play cricket. “Never had I thought that the sport that I loved all this while would bring such an amazing experience for me”, she says.
This story was first published by Paridhi Acharya on The Annapurna Express. Read here

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