Manali Dakshini is a Maharashtrian Cricketer. She plays for Mumbai and West Zone. She has represented Mumbai U-16, U-23 and Seniors in major domestic tournaments. Her cricket journey began at the very famous Payyade Cricket Club based in Kandivali, suburbs of Mumbai. Manali believes in focussing on the basics and that everything else follows. There’s more to learn from her simple yet powerful cricket journey in the interview below:

1. What was your first interaction with cricket like?

Right from the age of 8, the love and passion for the game started with the endless hours of gully cricket with the boys.

2. Walk us through your initial (childhood) cricket days? Any gully cricket moment that you remember?

I vaguely remember playing cricket in the building compound and breaking the headlight of our Honda Activa. 

3. How did you manage your education and other commitments alongside cricket? Did you enjoy studying?

I was very fortunate enough to have enormous support from my school, St Anthony’s High School and my college, Rizvi which helped me balance both my education and cricketing activities.

4. Who were your cricketing role model / inspiration whilst growing up?

Ellyse Perry has always been my role model. Her contribution to sports is immense. 

5. When did you realize your love for the game? Were your parents supportive of your decision?

My parents were absolutely supportive of my decision to play and always backed my abilities. They were absolutely thrilled when I got selected for the first time in the Mumbai Under 16 team in 2010.

6. Which club and Coach did you start your journey with? Which all club have you represented so far?

My initial journey in cricket started with Payyade Sports Club under Vinod Keni and once I was selected in the Mumbai camp, I have worked on my skills under the watchful eyes of Sanjay Gaitonde. 

7. What age did you make your domestic cricket debut? Were you excited with the opportunity or nervous with the expectations from you?

I made my debut for the Mumbai Under 19 team in the year, 2011 and was extremely excited with the opportunity.

8. You are seen as one of the promising talents from Mumbai and West Zone. How has the journey been so far? Highlight some of the high-low moments you’ve witnessed so far?

Every player goes through a tough phase and I always feel I’ve personally learnt a lot from these situations. The journey all through these years have been amazing and the only aim is to contribute to the team.

9. In a year, what all tournaments are available for a domestic player today? How many have you played so far?

Senior One Dayers, Senior Challengers, Mumbai Under 23 T20 are the tournaments that I have represented so far. 

10. In the recently concluded challenger series, you were the 5th highest run scorer with 80 runs in 3 innings with a SR of 60. What was your preparation like before the start of this tournament? 

The idea is to just focus on my basis and follow the process, results will happen. That’s the mantra I live by. 

11. What are key learnings from this challenger series that you want to implement going ahead in future games?

Ability to handle pressure is something I want to learn and practice more. 

12. A player you enjoyed batting with? Also tell a bowler you enjoyed batting against? And why?

I’ve had a lot of partnerships with Manjiri Gawade who plays for Mumbai and we enjoy batting together.

13. Which is that one area where you wish to improve and work on at a personal level?

Bowling at the end overs.

14. Which has been the turning point in your cricket career? 

Winning the 2016 under19 national championship for Mumbai. 

15. How eager are you to make your national debut? When do you think would that happen?

I just want to keep performing and not think about anything else.

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