S Asha, captain of the Kerala junior cricket team, could not make it to Under-19 national team this time. She had to rush home cutting short a selection camp in Dharamsala after her mother suffered a severe heart attack.
This is not the first time the 18-year-old has had to go through difficult times.
Asha, the daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver from here, was asked at a point by her parents to take up another sport since fulfilling her cricket dreams was becoming difficult for the family. But it was something she could not think of. “I was addicted to the sport since childhood. My elder brother used to play it at home. So I took lessons from him,” says Asha.
She toiled more for the game after her brother Anoop decided to change his plans of taking up the sport as a career. Using bats made out of coconut fronds by her father B.Joy, she spent hours practicing hard.
Last month in the Under-19 tournament, her 62 not out against Hyerdabad and 22 runs and two wickets’ haul against Karnataka won her accolades.
This time, Asha even gifted a new autorickshaw to her father. “I know my father was finding it difficult to meet ends. For the last four years I was saving the prize money I used to get. When it crossed Rs 30,000 I presented it to him. He managed the balance with a bank loan,” she says.
Weren’t her dreams shattered when she could not make it to the national team? “It is a temporary setback. I will come out of it. I will pad up for my country and it is my dream. I think I can do it one day,” says the all-rounder who is a fan of leg spinner Shane Warne.