Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav Is Changing The Game For Indian Cricket
Poonam Yadav played a major role in India’s 18-run win over Bangladesh in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup match in Perth on Monday. Yadav, one of the leading wicket-takers in this format cooled off the pressure with strategic bowling for team India after halting Australia’s chase in their opening game. She emerged as the top bowler again, while a fiery group of batswomen helped India get two wins from two matches in the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s T20 World Cup.
The 28-year-old silenced Sanjida Islam (10), Fahima Khatun (17) and Jahanara Alam (10) to make it tough for Bangladesh. They needed 49 runs from last five overs but they failed to negotiate the 4 feet and 11 inches tall Poonam’s fluent deliveries.
- Leg spinner Poonam Yadav delivered a brilliant game and got India to a comfortable 18-run win over Bangladesh in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup match in Perth on Monday.
- The 28-year-old is one of the most experienced members of the Indian team.
- She has also been the leading wicket-taker in T20Is over the last two years.
‘Poonam Yadav’s spell was the turning point’
Lauding the leg-spinner’s performance, Mithali Raj, the former Captain of India, said “Poonam Yadav’s spell was the turning point. She’s been one of the main spinners for India for quite some time now, and her style worked again today.”
“Leg-spin kaafi difficult job hai. Usme jigra chahiye bowling karne ke liye! (Bowling leg-spin is a tough task. You have to have a big heart to bowl it.),” Yadav was told by her coach early in her career. She started off as a “decent” medium-pacer, “but I didn’t get enough bounce because of my height,” she said.
“Poonam did a great job for us, credit goes to our bowlers – they trusted themselves and won the game for us,” Harmanpreet Kaur said. “She is a very good T20 bowler, she always bowls for the team and it’s not easy to play, she is a little slower in the air. When you have to hit her, you have to show patience and very good skill.”
Hailing from the Agra district, Yadav became the first woman cricketer from the state of Uttar Pradesh to receive the Arjuna Award. Daughter of retired subedar, Major Raguvir Singh, who now works as a lecturer at the Arya Kanya Inter College at Sikandrarao, Hathras, Yadav has three siblings.
I really worked hard to prove myself on the field, and I am glad that it has paid off. I am grateful to all the coaches who have helped me come so far. It’s been a tough ride, but with god’s grace, I could battle all the odds. – Poonam Yadav
Poonam is the only sportsperson in her family and her father was sceptical about her pursuing a career in sports. “She has a never-say-die character. From joining training at Eklavya stadium in Agra in 2007, she had captained the Uttar Pradesh side that won the Under-19 championship in 2010. She is now UP’s first woman cricketer to receive the Arjuna award,” says Poonam’s coach Manoj Kushwaha.
“My coach told me to learn leg-spin. He also warned me that it is possible I may learn quickly; it is possible I may learn slowly. It is possible I may not learn and could end up never playing cricket.”
In the same breath she added, “Maine kaha risk leti hoon life me, aur kya hai. (I said I’ll take that risk. What’s to lose.)”
The 27-year-old works as the office superintendent at Agra Railways Records Department. She made her international debut in 2013. Yadav ranks No. 3 in the world T20 cricket. Her incredible journey started from the Thrive Cricket Academy.
“I had no words to express my happiness. It was my teammate Smriti Mandhana who informed me about the award. She is herself an Arjuna awardee from 2018,” she had told The Times of India
“This award is the recognition of the efforts of my parents – Raguvir Singh and Munni Devi who believed in my ability against all odds, including societal and family pressures, to support me in my endeavor to play cricket,” Poonam said. She was a part of the Indian team for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament.
She became India’s highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 Internationals in September 2018 with 57 wickets from 39 T20Is.
Speaking about his daughter’s achievements, Raghuvir Singh said, “Since childhood, Poonam was good at sports. Initially, like every Indian parent coming from a humble background, we too hesitated in letting her pursue sports, but when her coaches, including late M K Afghani, Manoj Kushwaha and Hemlata Kala, showed immense confidence in her, we decided to support Poonam.”
Picture Credit: sportsCELEBfamily