Life comes full circle for women’s cricket selector Renu Margrate
An office superintendent with Indian Railways, Margrate, who played five Tests and 23 ODIs for India, has replaced Shashi Gupta as selector from North ZoneUpdated: Oct 09, 2020, 17:48 IST
For former India cricket all-rounder Renu Margrate, 45, life has come full circle.
From a humble background in Amritsar, Margrate toiled hard to make ends meet and earn an India debut in 1995. Now, six months after she applied for the post of national selector, Margrate has been installed as one of the five-member panel for three years and would be paid Rs 25 lakh per annum as salary. The panel will be headed by former spinner Neetu David.
An office superintendent with Indian Railways, Margrate, who played five Tests and 23 ODIs for India, replaced Shashi Gupta as selector from North Zone recently. “I’m grateful to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed committee for choosing me for this job. It’s amazing to be back to the sport after a decade in a different role. Our first job will be to make squads for the Women’s T20 Challenge to be held in the United Arab Emirates. The tournament will provide a perfect platform to India domestic cricketers as Australians, Kiwis and English players will be busy in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL),” said Margrate, who has played domestic cricket for Punjab and Indian Railways.
‘CRICKET HAS GIVEN ME EVERYTHING’
Going down the memory lane, Margrate remembers how her parents and brothers encouraged her to pursue cricket while they stayed in a small rented house near the Putli Ghar area in Amritsar. While her mother was a domestic help, her father would sell his paintings to earn a livelihood.
“Those were difficult times. Yet they backed me and even sent me to a Jalandhar college so that I could pursue cricket passionately. We did not have money to buy spiked shoes. When I made my debut in 1995, they were elated. Sadly, they are no more but God has been kind,” said Margrate, who was a middle-order bat and a medium-pace bowler.
“After I got a job with Railways and played for India, things started looking up. Cricket has given me everything. I could improve my lifestyle and give back to my family. We shifted to a better house though in the same locality. I want to do my duty of being a selector with dignity and honesty like I conducted my career,” says Margrate, who scored a match-winning 75 and also scalped six wickets during a match against Karnataka in the Rani Jhansi tournament in 1994. She smacked former India captain Shanta Rangaswamy in the match that helped her make her India ODI and Test debut against New Zealand in 1995.
‘WOMEN’S CRICKET HAS TRANSFORMED’
“Women’s cricket has changed a lot. We never had money or specialised camps or designated trainers. We put up in dormitories and travelled in buses and trains. Since BCCI took over, the face of women’s cricket changed in India. And the 2017 World Cup took the sport to another level. Now India cricketers have endorsements and BCCI gives central contracts,” she said.
“The Covid pandemic halted the game a bit but with IPL-13 taking place in the UAE, the smiles are back again. Hopefully, women matches will also have thrilling finishes. And we can find more Shafali Varmas from the tournament,” said Margrate, who last played for India in the 2000 World Cup.
The other selectors are Arati Vaidya, Mithu Mukherjee, V Kalpana and Neetu David as chief selector.
‘NEED GOOD FAST BOWLERS’
Margrate felt the need to have quality quick bowlers. “Jhulan (Goswami) doesn’t play T20s, then there is Shikha Pandey. Other than them, we don’t have many options. Once domestic cricket resumes, the selection panel would focus on scouting and grooming good fast bowlers,” said Margrate.
The BCCI contracted players along with other domestic cricketers have been asked to take their yo-yo tests to be eligible for the Women’s T20 Challenge selection. It will have three teams and will be played from November 4 to 9.