Chandigarh cricketer Taniya Bhatia keen to make her mark after India selection
No sooner had Taniya Bhatia landed at the IGI airport in New Delhi from Indore to join the Punjab team --- slated to take part in the T20 Senior Women’s Cricket League in Chennai --- on Wednesday that her phone was flooded with congratulatory messages.
The reason: The wicket-keeper from Chandigarh had received her maiden India call-up for the three-match ODI series in South Africa starting February 5. Taniya has become the first woman cricketer from Chandigarh to bag a berth in the national team.
Daughter of a bank manager, a beaming 20-year-old Taniya said, “I lived for this moment. I have faced many obstacles along the way. I am happy to have overcome them. This is a good chance for me to showcase my abilities on foreign soil and cement my place in the India team.
“It will be wonderful to share the dressing room with the likes of Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet again.” Known for her aggressive strokes and sharp wicket-keeping skills, Taniya had made it to the India A team which took on Sri Lanka A in a three-match T20 series last month.
Taniya was part of the India Blue team which clinched the Challengers Trophy at Indore recently. She impressed the selectors and India team coach Tushar Arothe with her wicket-keeping skills.
Taniya’s brush with cricket started at DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8. Yuvraj Singh’s father and former India cricketer Yograj Singh spotted Taniya’s flair for the game when she was nine-years old. She honed her skills under Yograj for a few years before joining the Guru Nanak Dev Public School Cricket Academy in Sector 36 under coach RP Singh.
Recalling the time when he spotted Taniya, Yograj said, “I remember Taniya would train so hard even at that young age. She played with the boys’ team. She would surprise everyone with her talent and commitment.
“Once Yuvi was at the nets and a match was in progress at the ground. Seeing Taniya’s attacking shots, Yuvi asked me “who is this young boy, dad? Taniya used to keep her hair short, so Yuvi mistook her as a boy. He was so impressed. I am really happy to see Taniya in the India team.”
The ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 changed the way how people looked at women’s cricket, said Yograj.
Taniya is the second wicket-keeper in the team, Sushma Verma being the other.