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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Komal Zanzad picks cricket over studies, lands on India doorstep

A decade into playing for Vidarbha, Komal Zanzad is set to realise the dream of playing for India

cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2019 19:02 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
File photo.
File photo. (Getty Images)

Komal Zanzad’s father Ravindra dreamt of her daughter following in his footsteps and becoming an engineer. She did set out to become a mechanical engineer at GH Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur, but cricket was always her first love. After a couple of years she put her dream over her father’s as she toiled away, picking wickets with her left-arm swing bowling.

And a decade into playing for Vidarbha, Komal is set to realise the dream of playing for India. At 27, she is in the T20 squad for the three-match series against England starting in Guwahati on Monday.

Komal, chosen ahead of the seasoned Mansi Joshi, had put up a stellar show in the Challengers Trophy and had dented the England top order with swing for Board President’s XI in the warm-up match against England in Mumbai. She dismissed main England batters Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver and Sarah Taylor cheaply.

“I was nervous bowling to top-class English cricketers. But captain Smriti Mandhana instilled confidence and told me to just enjoy and give my best. I did that and the results were good. Smriti is humble and encourages a lot,” said Komal.

It is almost after two decades that a left-arm seamer has made it to the Indian team, Umesh Chaudhary and Sangeeta Dabir having been part of the Indian team long ago. “I have played with Komal for Central Zone in 2012. She was an exciting young talent. She had the skill and spark. In this era, having a smart left-arm pacer can be an asset. She has a bright future and brings a different dimension to the team,” said former India seamer Amita Sharma.

Komal, who idolises Zaheer Khan, is raring to go. “The last two seasons have been very good for me. Anju Jain (Vidarbha coach) made me realise that I had the potential to make it to the top. I can’t let these opportunities go,” said Komal, who first grabbed attention when she took nine wickets against Haryana in a domestic one-day match last season.

Mandhana too sees lot of promise in Komal. “She has great potential. She bowled an exceptional line against England (for BP XI). I was impressed with her control. She bowled pretty well in the Challengers Trophy too before that. I followed her bowling while playing in the Big Bash League in Australia.”

England captain Heather Knight hopes her players will adapt to Komal’s bowling after being troubled in the warm-up tie. “She was quite successful, but we’ve prepared in the last few days against the in-swing deliveries. However, this is a different format which requires an attacking approach. We need to adapt to the conditions quickly and take it from there.”

With experienced pacer Jhulan Goswami absent, pacer Shikha Pandey will have Arundhati Reddy and Komal for support in the department.

First Published: Mar 03, 2019 19:02 IST

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