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ICC Women’s World Cup: Karate champ Veda lands the blows in India’s campaign

As India take on Australia in the ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final at Derby on Thursday, all eyes will be on the 24-year-old batting mainstay Veda Krishnamurthy

cricket Updated: Jul 20, 2017 12:22 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
ICC Women's World Cup,Women's World Cup 2017,Veda Krishnamurthy
Veda Krishnamurthy has been key to India’s campaign at the ICC Women’s World Cup.(PTI)

Growing up in Kadur, a small town in Karnataka’s Chikmagalur, Veda was encouraged by her father SJ Krishnamurthy to take up karate. Despite being a black belt and national champion in the 35kg category, Veda, the youngest daughter of a cable operator always wanted to be a cricketer. And an advertisement for trials by the Karnataka Institute of Cricket took the Krishnamurthys to Bangalore.

The die was cast, and Veda’s rise to the national ranks began. As India take on Australia in the ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final at Derby on Thursday, all eyes will be on the 24-year-old Veda, a batting mainstay.

Packing the bags

A young girl who shifted from a small town to a big city to chase her dream in 2005 faces her biggest day yet in the game, with expectations only going up after her power-packed knock in India’s victory over New Zealand in the must-win last league match on July 15.

READ | Women’s Cricket World Cup: India take on Australia in semi-final

Krishnamurthy recalled the decision to let his daughter shift to Bangalore. “It was tough for me. My wife was a bit paranoid with the idea. With Veda, we also got two of our daughters admitted in a Bangalore school; we let our children move away from us. I also had a meagre income, but we all stuck to Veda’s dream of playing for India,” he told HT.

The robust knock

The Karnataka cricketer, who made her India debut in 2011, hit a stellar 45-ball 70 against New Zealand at Derby and raised an important 108-run fifth-wicket stand with skipper Mithali Raj, who is also her best friend in the Indian team.

Veda joined Mithali with India a precarious 154/4 in 37 overs. Her shots through extra cover stood out as she injected momentum to India’s scoring. The scant crowd at Derby went berserk with fans heaping praise on her on the social media.

READ | Women’s Cricket World Cup: Anjum Chopra backs India to beat Australia in semi-final

However, Veda had to wait for her turn as India made a bright start to their campaign.

“I was surprised Veda didn’t feature in the playing XI in the first three games against England, West Indies and Pakistan. You can’t make such a player sit on the bench in a World Cup,” said her coach Sukhwinder Bawa, who trained Veda from 2011 to 2014 in Gurgaon after she joined Western Railways and got posted in New Delhi.

Street-smart player

Bawa, who also groomed Yuvraj Singh in Chandigarh, says: “She is a street-smart cricketer who bowls handy leg-spin and is a fine fielder. She plays with a heavy bat and loves going for big shots. She will play an important role against Australia.”

Veda, who has played 38 ODIs and 37 T20s, will hope she sparkles again with the bat on the same Derby ground where her ODI career began in 2011. “She was very excited after the knock against Kiwis. Derby has been a lucky hunting ground for India with four out of four matches going in their favour. Veda has promised me she will again come good for India and take the team to the final at Lord’s,” said her father.

First Published: Jul 19, 2017 19:22 IST