It is said that behind every successful man there is a woman, but have you ever wondered, who is behind the success of a woman?
“My parents. The biggest reason that I am standing here is because of my parents. They are my pillars of strength. I hope to get more moments like this to thank my family, my coaches, my brother and my friends,” says Anjum Chopra, the first Indian woman cricketer to receive honorary membership of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Lord’s Cricket Ground, London. “I am very humbled by the honour and feel elated to be the first Indian cricketer to receive this (membership),” she adds.
On her journey
Fortunately or unfortunately, I have always played alongside the boys who have eventually gone on to represent India. I never faced any bias, but the only time there have been biases is when I used to get a male cricketer out. People would say ‘oh, ladki ne kaise out kar diya’ or ‘ladki ne ladke ki ball pe chauka kaise maar diya’. But that’s more on the competitive side and has actually helped me become a decent cricketer and improve on my performances.
On her coaches
I have always been under good coaches. Be it Sunita Sharma, Hardeep Dua and Tarak Sinha from Sonnet Club.
On her biggest challenge
The challenge has always been the opposition and overcoming failures. But, at the end of the day, when you receive an accolade like this or stand in the President’s House to receive the Arjuna Award or the Padma Shri, everything just culminates into that one moment.
I think I can try that as well (acting) and take up the challenge. Rani Mukerji once played a cricketer, so if she wants to play the role again, why not. But whoever takes up the role, I am sure they will do justice because I have seen the kind of hard work that actors put in.
Perhaps it is her mother’s never say no attitude that has brought her this far. Poonam Chopra, her mother, says, “She was always a very good child and took our words as sermons. I remember, when Anjum was six years old, there was an ad on the sports page of HT for an open trial for girls in Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium. I asked her if she wanted to go and she readily agreed. There, the coaches, Dr Sarin and Hardeep Dua caught hold of her and said, “Yeh India ka kaptaan hai...yeh baccha shine karega.” Nothing is impossible, but the effort has to be made from both the sides. Now we need a good companion for her.”
Sports should be an integral part of every child’s life, feels Neelam Pratap Rudy, chairperson, sports committee of India, PHD. She says, “Women have brought medals to this country, getting respect from all corners. I feel more push will come into women’s sports and more girls will want to take up sports. A little bit of sport in your life is very important, especially for girls. It helps ingrain fitness and keeps them healthy and fit.”
But to pursue a career in sports that takes you across the globe needs more than just dedication and training. Sonu Wassan, wife of former cricketer Atul Wassan, says, “Having a supportive husband who understands you and takes care of the family in your absence is an important factor behind a woman’s success.”
Shweta Kartik, wife of former cricketer Murali Kartik, agrees that you need the support of your husband to pursue a career like hers, but a lot of other elements also weigh in. She says, “Of course, it’s her own will and determination, as well as her upbringing that has allowed her to be herself. It is a combination of parenting, willpower and your spouse’s support.”
The event was attended by Member of Parliament and chairman of IPL, Rajeev Shukla,Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy and wife Neelam Pratap Rudy, minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel, cricketer Atul Wassan with wife Sonu Wassan, cricketer Murali Kartik with wife Shweta Kartik among others.