Cricket runs in Babita Negi’s family. A proud sister of her younger brother Pawan Negi who has represented India and played for several IPL franchises including CSK, RCB, and DD, she took to cricket because of him and credits the start to her cricket career to Pawan. He often helped her with the training.

The duo used to play in the local neighbor-hood before they got a professional coach for training. Just like her brother, she is also a left-arm spinner and a bowling all-rounder. A regular member in Delhi’s State Cricket team, Babita is also an employee of the Northern Railways and trains at National Stadium.

In our recent interview, Babita talks about her cricket journey, how it all started for her and where she envisions it in the years to come.

Tell us about your early life and how your cricketing journey began?

I am a science graduate from Delhi University. I was about to do Engineering and even got admitted to Delhi University (DU), but my father wanted me to do some extra-curricular activity along with academics as my college used to get over early, so I joined my brother (Pawan Negi) who is also a cricketer and started practicing at the academy in college. I started accompanying him for practice. Initially, I knew nothing about women’s cricket, but eventually, as I started practicing regularly, my cricket career took off.

This year we didn’t qualify for the super leagues’ stage and that was something very hard and difficult for us to digest.

Were you always into cricket as a child? What made you take it up professionally?

I played different sports in school for fun but never ever thought of playing cricket and that too professionally! But when I started playing for my college team, my coach Surjeet Verma sir asked me to take the game seriously and then I started working hard to make a career in professional cricket.

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What academy did you initially train at before getting into the domestic circuit?

I started my cricket from the RP Cricket academy that runs in Gargi College, New Delhi.

How was the Senior Women’s T20 league experience this year?

This year we didn’t qualify for the super leagues’ stage and that was something very hard and difficult for us to digest.

How do you think Delhi could have done better in the same tournament?

I would say that our batting didn’t click this time, we could have done much better. unfortunately, we lacked in that area this time.

Who were some of the cricketers that you admired growing up?

When I started playing we had players like Reema Malhotra, Anjum Chopra, Jaya Sharma in the Delhi team and Mithali Raj from the Indian team so I admired them growing up by the time and got to learn a lot of things watching them and am still trying to learn a lot.

You get to learn a lot of things about the game on and off the field. You get a lot of help mentally as well for the match preparations, practice sessions, and training.

Did you start off as a bowler or did it change as your cricketing journey progressed?

In the early days, I used to bowl left-arm pace, but my brother suggested me to try spin bowling as I have a short height and then I tried my hand at spin bowling, which worked out.

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Which year did you join railways and how have they helped in your cricket journey?

I joined railways in 2012. Railways have helped me a lot in many ways. It made me a mature professional player and if your organization supports you in your sport then it motivates you to put more effort into the game. Railways always provide us special leaves for the tournaments camps and practices, so they have been very supportive.

What are the advantages of having a sibling who is also a professional cricketer?

You get to learn a lot of things about the game on and off the field. You get a lot of help mentally as well for the match preparations, practice sessions, and training.

What is your ultimate goal, career-wise?

My ultimate goal is to play for India and I want to make sure that I work hard to achieve all the heights that I can.

What do you enjoy doing off the field?

I love to listen to music and hang out with friends.

How has DDCA contributed to your career?

DDCA plays a very big role in my career. It has given me a chance to reach where I am right now in cricket. Playing from any state at a national level is the only path to reach our goals. and they have been very supportive.

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What steps do you think BCCI can take to further promote women’s cricket in India?

BCCI can conduct the Indian Premier League (IPL) on a larger scale for women’s, apart from 3 teams we can have more teams so that more and more domestic girls find opportunities to get into the national side and the girls would get more involved in cricket for a longer period. Also, they will also get to play more matches and hence gain more experience.

This story was first published by Female Cricket.

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