ICC Women’s World Cup: Smriti Mandhana & Co. lead India’s charge
India have remained unbeaten so far in the ICC Women’s World Cup and their success has drawn new attention to some of the more unknown talents from the country’s women’s cricket team.Updated: Jul 06, 2017, 15:56 IST
Cricket has often been associated with instant fame and glamour in India, but not all have been that lucky. Men’s cricket has always hogged lion’s share of the limelight and thus can be more associated with the fame and the fortune. The same can’t be said for women’s cricket.
Players like Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami have attained some popularity over the years through hard work and sheer talent. However, there are others who might not be as popular but are talented individuals regardless. Here we look at a few such players.
Shikha Pandey: She used to represent India even before she donned the national cricket jersey, albeit in a field that had nothing to do with sports. She was an Indian Air Force officer and is the first cricketer from Goa to represent the country.
Apart from this, she is also an electronics and electrical engineer and has graduated from Goa Engineering College. As of now, Pandey has been capped more than 50 times in all formats of the game.
Smriti Mandhana: Smriti Mandhana is just 20 years old but has already made a mark for herself in the cricketing world. Notably, she was the only Indian to feature in the ICC Women’s Team of the Year 2016.
Known for her flamboyant batting style, a few Indian cricket fans have even compared her to Virender Sehwag. However, the former India batsman shut down that comparison by tweeting: “She is the first version of Smriti and is really special.”
Punam Raut: Punam Raut rose to fame after sharing a 320-run stand with Deepti Sharma against Ireland in a quadrangular series in South Africa. She’s been on top of her game ever since.
This innings was the highest opening stand in all ODI cricket, eclipsing the existing 286-run partnership between Sri Lanka’s Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya. Raut has been pretty impressive in the World Cup too, scoring 149 runs so far in the tournament.
Deepti Sharma: An ardent fan of Suresh Raina’s inside-out shots, Deepti Sharma had missed on a double hundred by just 12 runs when she and Raut had created history against Ireland. Once considered too young to represent Uttar Pradesh, Sharma made her national debut when she was all but 17.
Although she scored just one run, in an interview to ESPNCricinfo, Sharma said: “I never had any such thing as a ‘dream debut’ in my head. But those two wickets gave me confidence that if I may have an off day in one department, I could bank on my other skill to contribute to the team.”
Ekta Bisht: From being the daughter of a tea-seller to emerge as one of India’s main strike bowlers, Bisht’s life story has everything that a film director would crave for in a hit biopic.
Her father’s occupation barely helped the family make ends meet but that didn’t deter Bisht from chasing her dream. Against Pakistan, her five-wicket haul was instrumental to India’s impressive victory, despite only being able to put up 169 runs on the board in the first innings.