Saloni Allot trained under former Anju Jain for the last two years who made her believe that ‘Keepers are a class apart’. Ever since the promising Vidarbha wicketkeeper-batswoman has made it a part of her life principles both on and off the cricket field. She is a qualified chemical engineer, a biker, a guitarist and a brave-hearted cricketer.

She had been away from the game as she took a study leave after the stunning 37 dismissals in 26 matches in the 2018-19 season. However, her killer instincts stayed with her despite the fact that she has taken a break from the game. This could be said as she spotted a suspected burglar outside Swami Colony Phase 1, which happens to be her residence, in the early hours of Sunday.

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For around 10 minutes Saloni fought with the burglar alone until people from the neighborhood came to her help. It happened so that their family had just arrived late in the night around 1.30 PM and Saloni was parking the car when she saw a fleeing burglar who caught her attention. This talented cricketer turned into a warrior who stood strong and this act of bravery made her the star of her locality too.

The burglar was later identified as Dhanraj Pancheswar and was handed to Gittikhadan police by the crowd in the locality.

Senior Police Inspector Sunil Gangurde came later to inspect the spot and he also appreciated Saloni’s bravery and efforts. During the hustle of stopping the burglar and keeping him away from the cloth bag in which he had two long blades, screwdrivers and some sharp tool Saloni’s hand got bruised because of the debris and tarred road.

Senior Police Inspector Sunil Gangurde was all-praises for Saloni as he said, “It is not a joke to fight a burglar bare-handed for long.”

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She got an injury on both hands and yet she fought even though her cricket career could have been at a risk. She did not stop or moved away from this risky situation. Rather she caught hold of the burglar with a tight grip and called for help until help arrived.

Gangurde was approached by many senior citizens who suggested that Saloni’s name be recommended for bravery awards.

Saloni was not at all prepared for the fight as the event was unexpected. She did not know what was going on inside her house until her mother Anju Sahara shouted for her father Vinay, on seeing a stranger trying to hide among the flower pots. “Seeing my parents, the burglar scaled the boundary wall and jumped out. I had just stepped out of the car after parking it when he landed in front of me. There was hardly any moment to think before I acted,” said Saloni

“I pounced upon him, but he managed to roll over to get on top. It was tough, but I was able to grasp him with my legs crisscrossed over him until others reached and grabbed him too,” she said.

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The Police said that the burglar Dhanraj Pancheshwar was from Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh and further investigation is going on regarding his past records in the city.

This piece was published first on Female Cricket.

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