We belong to a country that may be divided by caste and color- but is united by their love for cricket; a country that may follow myriad different religions but has one common faith- cricket; a country that pledges undying reverence to cricketers and apes their every move, it is rather shocking that the women in the sport are still plants who haven’t received even a beacon of sunlight, in a three decade long career.
The first women ODI was played in 1973, a modification to the boy club that India welcomed in 1978, when the Women’s Cricket Association was formed. And the luminous performances of our women lead to a milestone in cricket history, when the Women’s Cricket Association of India was merged with the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 2006 as part of the International Cricket Council’s initiative to develop women’s cricket. Here are some of the brightest shining stars that our country has given to the world of women Cricket.
Anjum is credited to have broken the glass ceiling in this “Gentleman’s sport” to be recognized as the face of women’s cricket. She debuted at the early age of 17 in the ODIs as well as Test cricket. And only in her second ODI, she was awarded ‘player of the series’ against the visiting England In her career, her list of laurels is endless, the Arjuna, the PadmaShri Padma Shri 2014, the Rajiv Gandhi Delhi state award in 2004, multiple ICC Player of the match awards, the Zee Astitva award – ‘Award for exemplary women’, 2008, and various others.
And her list of records is even longer- she was the first Indian player to score a ODI century for India, the first player to play 100 ODI’s for India, the first to play 6 world cups for India. Four ODI world cups and two T20’s, and the only player in modern day cricket to have played 12 Test matches with ODI and T20’s.
Diana Fram Edulji:
This former Indian women’s Test cricketer, had the talent and excellence to make it big in various sports like Tennis and Basketball, but she chose cricket when it chose her at a Lala Amarnath’s cricket camp. After playing for the railways, she broke international cricket in 1975, and was entrusted with captaincy at a crucial time in the blooming of women’s cricket, in 1978. She received the Arjuna Award in 1983. Fun fact: Diana lost her four front teeth while playing yet she kept at it. She is said to be the greatest Indian woman cricketer of all time. With 120 wickets, she remains the highest wicket taker of the game.
Her very first day was an indicator that a legend is in the making. This ODI and Test Cricket all rounder made her debut with ODIs in 1999 against Ireland at Milton Keynes and scored 114 runs without getting out in that match. On 17 August 2002, at the age of 19, in her third Test, she broke Karen Rolton’s record of World’s highest individual Test score of 209 by scoring a new high of 214 against England. She led the Indian team to the finals in the Women’s Cricket World Cup of 2005, and to India’s first Test victory against England.
At the 2013 Women’s World Cup, Mithali started as the no.1 cricketer in the ODI chart among women. This star has received the Arjuna award by the Government of India in light of her achievement in sports, as well as the Padma Shri, India’s second highest civilian award.
This left-arm spinner, who plays for the India national women’s cricket team, has quite a sparkly resume- She is India’s third highest wicket taker in Tests and their leading wicket-taker in One Day Internationals. Safe to say she is an all-rounder, as she also has the best innings bowling analysis in Test cricket, having taken 8 for 53 versus England Women in 1995.
Nooshin Al Khadeer:
She is another one of our jewels who has excelled by world standards, peaking at No. 1 in world rankings in 2003. She plays for the Indian National Team, and has been a constant since her 2002 debut. This gifted bowler and fielder is currently closing in on the 100 wicket landmark in ODIs.
Another all rounder in our team, having showcased some classy batsmanship as well as bowling, she was appointed to lead the team for the 2010 world cup, after her instrumental role in guiding the Indian team in their first Test win against England in 2006. She was the fastest playing bowler in world women cricket after Cathryn Fitzpatrick retired. She won the ICC Women’s Player of the Year 2007 as well as the Arjuna, the M.A. Chidambaram trophy for Best Women Cricketer in 2011, and the Padma Shri in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
This former Indian women cricketer has contributed to various tiers of women’s cricket. She played internationally, best known for her debut in India’s debut- against West Indies in 1976, where she was on a wicket-taking rampage- with a five-wicket haul, a feat she would repeat four more times in the nineteen tests she played in her career. Having captained India rather successfully in three test matches, she then moved on to administration- serving as the secretary of the Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI) when WCAI was merged into BCCI in 2006.
[Feature Picture Credits: ESPN CricInfo]