Cricket Wasn’t Rajeshwari’s First Choice: Things To Know About Star Bowler
We all cheered for captain Mithali Raj who scored a century in the ICC Women’s World Cup on Saturday (July 15), securing a solid run for India to move ahead to the semi-final. While India dominated New Zealand in the game, one woman stunned everyone with her performance, one of the key factors behind the team’s triumph. Meet left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad who took five wickets as India crushed New Zealand by 186 runs.
Here are few things to know about the champion:
- 26-year-old Rajeshwari is the first woman cricketer from Bijapur district in Karnataka to be selected in the national women’s cricket team.
- Her father, late Shivanand Gayakwad, is the inspiration behind her sporting career. A government primary school teacher, it was he who motivated her to take up sports professionally.
- The July 15 match was her maiden game in the tournament, and the left-arm orthodox spinner picked up five wickets, giving away just 15 runs in 7.3 overs, the best in her career so far.
- Interestingly, Rajeshwari never intended to play cricket in the first place. She had mastered javelin and discus throw and is also known as an accomplished volleyball player. Then what made her switch to cricket? Her father’s wish!
- In fact, Rajeshwari is not the only sportsperson in the Gayakwad family. Her youngest sister Rameshwari is a well-known cricketer in Karnataka, representing the state at the national level, and has also played for India Green. The eldest sister, Bhuvaneshwari, is a hockey player. Brother Vishwanath is a badminton champ and volleyball player while another brother Kashinath plays the tabla.
- It was during the cricket facility setup at the Ambedkar ground in Bijapur, when Basavaraj Ijeri spotted Rajeshwari’s talent in cricket. She was in Class 11 at that time.
- She started playing professional cricket in 2007 with the Bijapur Women’s Cricket Club.
- Rajeshwari has completed her graduation in Arts.
- She admires her idol — former New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori — and never misses a single match of Vettori.
- Rajeshwari, who made her ODI debut against Sri Lanka on 19 January 2014, has now achieved the tag of India’s best bowler at the World Cup, beating the previous best recorded by Ekta Bisht, who took 5/18 against Pakistan, earlier in the tournament.
- The record figures were also the third best overall on World Cup debut behind Glenys Page’s 6/20 and Tina McPherson’s 5/14.
- The bowler even debuted in Test in style when she hauled five wickets against South Africa in Mysore in 2014.
Feature Image Credit: Midday
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