Diana Fram Edulji is a former Indian women’s Test cricketer. She was recently appointed by the Supreme Court of India as one of the interim administrators to look after the daily functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
A few years ago in Mumbai, she went over to congratulate a newly elected BCCI president and introduce him to the Railways representative on the board. The new BCCI President said to the RSCB secretary and Diana, “If I had my way, women should not play cricket, and I wouldn’t want them to play cricket also. We’re only doing this [running women’s cricket] because it is mandatory, because of ICC.”
Such is the state of affairs for women who have given their life to Indian Sports.
Here are 10 things you should know about this free-speaking, feisty woman:
1. A forerunner for the cause of Indian women’s cricket, she is currently the only cricketer on the BCCI’s interim panel.
2. A Mumbai resident, Diana honed her skills at a cricket camp hosted by former Test cricketer Lala Amarnath. At the training camp, while playing on a matting pitch for the first time, she lost four of her front teeth and part of her top gum too.
3. She even played basketball and tennis at the junior national level before focusing on cricket.
4. She was part of the first-ever women’s cricket team in India and was the Indian team’s first ODI captain.
5. Diana’s test debut was against West Indies Women in Bangalore, on October 31, 1976.
6. She batted as a Right-hand late order batsman and excelled as a slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler. She took 120 wickets during her career and is currently the highest wicket-taker for India and the third highest in the world. She also successfully captained India in a career spanning two decades.
7. She won the Arjuna award in 1983 and the Padma Shri in 2002. She is the first female cricketer to have received both the awards.
8. In 1984, she convinced the railway minister at the time, Madhavrao Scindia, to field a women’s cricket team. Thus, Railways went on to become the most powerful side in Indian women’s cricket.
9. In 1986, Diana was denied entry into Lord’s Club in London while captaining India’s tour of England. At the time, she said that the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) should change its name to MCP (male chauvinist pig).
10. After retiring from cricket, she became Western Railway’s senior sports officer and handled 32 sports. She was instrumental in increasing the employment opportunities for talented women cricketers in the country.