BCCI has recently revealed the 15 memeber squad who will represent India in the upcoming women’s T20 world cup in Australia. Richa Ghosh, a 16-year-old hailing from Siliguri has made it to the list and she certainly is overwhelmed.
Richa started playing cricket when she was just 4 years old following her father Manabendra Ghosh who used to be a part-time Bengal Umpire.
Richa says, “My first role model has always been my dad from whom I learnt cricket. Then it was Sachin Tendulkar, who will always remain my idol.”
Realizing her seriousness for the sport, her father enrolled her at the local Bagha Jatin Club. She was then the only girl in the club, but she played with such an impact and fearlessly which lead her to be called for the senior Bengal camp in 2012-13. “Everything happened so fast that it’s difficult to realize. We are all shocked but it’s like a pleasant one,” the awestruck father said.
“But we all had always felt she was different from others. When we all played cricket for fun, she was always serious when she had the bat with her,” Ghosh said about Richa.
Richa performed exceptionally well in Challenger Trophy and made her way into the national team. “I never thought that this will happen so fast. It’s hard to believe and the feeling hasn’t sunk in yet,” Richa told PTI on her way back to Kolkata. So, when the news came that Richa was picked for the World Cup, she was present at the ongoing Bengal camp in Mankundu. The Bengal camp celebrated her selection with a cake-cutting ceremony.
In the Bengal team, Richa has been backed by Jhulan Goswami. She stays in touch with Indian wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who incidentally hails from her hometown, Siliguri and she tends to take advice from him to play better cricket. “Jhulan di always supported me in the team while I always got help from Wriddhi da. He remains busy but we speak on and off. I’m really grateful to them and to my coaches, the Cricket Association of Bengal for supporting me.”
Richa is not shy when it comes to hitting the ball off the ground, she is prone to hit sixes, the 16-year-old is a complete package.
“She’s a coach’s delight, a God-gifted talent. But she is very young and we have to ensure that she goes a long way,” Bengal women’s team coach Shib Shankar Paul said. When it’s about her six-hitting skill, the role model is M. S. Dhoni. “I love the way he hits sixes and try the same. Whoever may be the bowler, when you have the bat, you can do anything.” Adds Richa.
Bengal trainer and wicketkeeping coach Rahul Deb said she easily clears the boundaries and her fielding is top-notch. “She’s a natural talent and ready to don any role for the team, be it batting, bowling, wicketkeeping or her accurate and powerful throws from the deep. Going forward, she just needs to train on her fitness,” Deb said.
Cricket Association of Bengal joint-secretary Avishek Dalmiya also wished her success. “It’s fabulous news. She is really talented and has been performing very well in domestic cricket. She is a hard-hitter and is one of the few women cricketers who can clear the boundaries of full-size cricket grounds with ease. A true all-rounder in every sense, Richa is an asset for any team as she can bat, bowl and keep wickets depending on the requirement of the team. We are confident that she would excel in a global event. Our best wishes are with her,” Dalmiya said.
Along with her name, another youngster Shafali Verma who’s just 15 years old has also made it to the world cup squad and it is going to be really wonderful to watch them manifest their talent and energy on an international level.
Squad for the World cup:
Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy.
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