Cricket Australia’s new policy of encouraging pregnant women cricketers to play again is surely helping in breaking the stereotype in various nations and one of them is India. As per the new policy, women players who give birth or adopt are offered 12 months of paid parental leave. This will support them through pregnancy, adoption, their return to play and parental responsibilities.
Two of the very few Indian women cricketers who continued to play after becoming a mother- Neha Tanwar and Babita Mandlik. Babita, a passionate cricketer and mother of a four-year-old daughter, In a conversation with Bipin Dani for ‘The Asian Age’ said-
“I was 72 kg when I gave birth to my child but I am now concentrating on my fitness because I want to start playing cricket again.”
Babita leads the Madhya Pradesh women’s cricket team, adds “It was my mother who encouraged me to take to this game and my in-laws after marriage. They never stopped me from playing cricket. In fact, they take care of my daughter whenever I go for practice.”
Neha Tanwar in a conversation with ‘The Asian Age’ said – “I strongly favor this policy for Indian woman cricketers as well, as they will have support to carry out their personal and professional obligations and duties. No doubt, the mindset of our society has changed a lot, but we still have miles to go. Even now, people do not accept or support married women in sports, women have great potential and such support can definitely raise the level of our game. These decisions will also encourage people to change their mindset towards sportswomen who make a comeback after having a baby.”
“Mother of a five-year-old son, Neha says that even though she evaluated her decision of giving up her passion for good but couldn’t resist changing her routine and discipline for years.”
“While becoming a mother changes one’s priorities, I am still passionate about cricket. When I decided to play again, my husband and parents stood by my decision.
Thanks to them, I was able to catch my dreams again”.
Neha, who did come back for the India ‘A’ Team, Delhi senior women’s team, North Zone women’s cricket team, and also Indian women’s Challenger Trophy. “My dream of playing for the Indian cricket team is still alive and kicking.”
This story was first published on The Asian Age
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