Of all the different facets of the IPL, and it’s a contribution to growing the game economically and globally, the main gift of IPL is in its’ tagline: “Where talent meets opportunity.”
While men’s cricket in India has reaped its’ benefit, no IPL for women cricketers has meant that the same opportunities haven’t been available for female talent. However, with the advent of IPL Women’s Challenge, the landscape is beginning to change. One such benefactor of WIPL is the 17-year old, Kashvee Gautam, who will represent Smriti Mandhana’s IPL Trailblazers.
In an interview with Indian Express, Kashvee Gautam shared some insights and the story of her beautiful journey to one of cricket’s biggest event.
She said, “It’s a special feeling for me as I used to watch the previous editions of the women’s T20 Challenge on television and would dream about being a part of the tournament one day. I have been a big fan of Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana apart from Jemimah Rodrigues.”
Speaking of her grand ambitions at the WIPL kicking off from 4th November, Gautam went on to say, “If I get to take wickets of Harman di and Jemimah in Dubai, it will be a special moment for me.”
The 17-year old all-rounder is still a high-school student and is currently in the 12th standard at Uttarakhand’s GMSSS-26. Her career began on the streets of her hometown in Punjab, where she would play cricket with the boys of her locality.
An avid cricket fan, Kashvee’s father, Sudesh Sharma, enrolled her daughter under a coach, Nagesh Gupta, just 4 years before. She rose through the ranks quickly, representing Punjab at U16, U19, and U23 levels. In 2019, she made the move to Uttarkhand to represent UTCA.
Speaking of this life-changing move, Gautam said, “Making the shift to Chandigarh helped me as I was the first choice pacer and also was given the opportunity to bat high in the order. The BCCI U-19 and U-23 tournaments gave me an opportunity to bowl at different venues and it helped me to be consistent. I was looking forward to playing in the U-23 one-day quarterfinals before Covid forced all cricketing activities to stop.”
Kashvee Gautam’s debut season at the UTCA yielded 83 wickets and 434 runs across various formats of the game. She also played in the BCCI U23 T20 Trophy last year, where she claimed 14 scalps. In the same year, she also represented her side at the BCCI U19 Trophy, where she was a class above the rest, taking 31 wickets till the quarter-finals.
Speaking to Indian Express, Gautam’s coach explained why he feels his protege is a perfect fit in the shortest format of the game. “When the academy opened, we spent time getting braced front leg as it helps in generating more pace. It can come in handy in UAE and Kashvee is very good at hitting ground-strokes. We also spent time on getting her head position right while batting and it has improved her batting,” he said.
Kashvee is currently preparing to make the trip to Mumbai, where all the players will go through a mandatory quarantine and several COVID tests, before making their way to the United Arab Emirates.