Age is just a number for the 16-year-old cricketer Tanya Bhatia. Three years back she became the youngest to play in women senior inter-state tournament; at the age of 11 she was playing in the under-19 age group for the state.
Talent apart, the girl said she was seldom overawed by the situation and playing against some of the senior cricketers of the country.
“Initially, I was much more of a shock and awe for my fellow players. I was the youngest and naturally players were curious to meet me but now everything seems normal to me,” Tanya said, before her practice session at Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36.
Tanya, daughter of former cricketer Sanjay Bhatia, said the game was always going to be her calling.
“I was eight years old when I started playing. Initially it was at DAV Senior Secondary School-8. I also took training from Yograj Singh, father of India southpaw Yuvraj Singh. My coaches showed faith in my talent and picked me for the under-19. I did well there and was promoted to play in the senior state,” the wicketkeeper-batswoman said.
While Tanya’s aim of playing for the country drives her, she knows the importance of hard work and also putting in consistent performances which will help her in the way of achieving her dream.
“Right now, the aim is to do well in the inter-zonal tournament to be held in June in Bangalore and Mysore. It will be ideal platform for me to catch the selectors’ attention and make it to India camp that is after the tournament,” Tanya said, who studies in Class 12 at DAV Model School, Sector 15.
Tanya in fact has been in fine form recently. In the ongoing Punjab state interdistrict matches for senior women, Tanya scored two centuries for Chandigarh. Her highest came against Jalandhar, wherein the batswoman scored 132 runs off 126 balls studded with 16 hits to the fence. She also scored 130 against Patiala.
The 16-year-old said her most memorable moment was meeting Anjum Chopra and also helping Punjab grab third position in the Senior T20 tournament last year.
“I was 13, when I played my match against Delhi. Anjum, my idol, said some nice words to me and also encouraged me. Last year, we finished third in the T20 tournament. At one point Punjab needed a win to qualify for the knockouts. I made 64 runs in that match to guide Punjab to knockouts. Later against Gujarat, I scored an unbeaten 54 to help Punjab secure third position. I think these are the moments I will cherish,” she said.
Tanya said she owed her success to her parents. “In fact, I will give credit of my success to my mother. She is the one who after doing all the household chores finds time to pick and drop me from the daily practice. My father also helps me a lot whenever he is able to find time out of his busy schedule,” Tanya said.
Tanya said she was working hard these days and in spite of a busy tournament schedule still managed to attend nets and practiced as and when she got time.
“As off now, I am not working on anything. The practice includes usual drills including batting and fitness and anything else my coach thinks I need to focus on. As a player I am more comfortable playing against medium pacers and my favourite shot is inside-out over the covers,” the Chandigarh batswoman said.