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Deepika Padukone could portray me well in a film, says all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur

Cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, one of the stars of the recent ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in England, names the Bollywood actor as one of her favourites. But a biopic can wait; her focus is on winning the next World Cup.

tabloid Updated: Aug 10, 2017 12:59 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Harmanpreet Kaur,Deepika Padukone,Cricket
Cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur is taking part in some TV shows, and meeting Bollywood legend and TV host Amitabh Bachchan.(PTI)

Before the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017, held in England in July, Harmanpreet Kaur had to go about introducing herself as a cricketer. She also had to explain that the Indian women’s cricket team plays a good game, much like our men in blue. Cut to the present. The 28-year-old all-rounder from Moga, Punjab, says that she gets mobbed wherever she goes. July 23, the day the World Cup final was held at Lord’s, has changed everything for Indian women’s cricket.

“The appreciation took time to arrive,” says Harmanpreet. “But the love we’re getting now is overwhelming.” One of the highlights of her brilliant performance in the tournament was the unbeaten 171 against Australia in the semi-final. India lost the final match, but the women came back winners.

“Imagine what the reaction would’ve been had we won the World Cup!” says Harmanpreet. “People now come up to me all the time. They want to meet me in person to congratulate [me] and take selfies. There are constant enquiries about our next series,” says the middle-order batswoman-cum-off-spinner in one breath. She is happy, and it shows.

Harmanpreet’s telephonic conversation with Hindustan Times is punctuated by her preparation to fly to Mumbai to attend a few events. Along with her teammates, Harmanpreet is taking part in some TV shows, including a popular game show hosted by Amitabh Bachchan. “I’m excited to meet him. Though I don’t know if I’d be able to answer his questions,” she jokes. This soft-spoken woman, excited like any young person who’s about to meet a pop culture icon, is a far cry from the player whose on-field aggression got India to the final match.

Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone tops the list of Harmanpreet Kaur’s favourite stars. ( Prasad Naik )

Given Bollywood’s current obsession with sport-based films and the reports of producers keen on making women cricketers’ biopics, we ask Harmanpreet who she thinks would be right to play her on-screen. “Deepika Padukone,” is her quick reply. “Deepika is a good actor. She’d be the right choice [for the biopic], she’d able portray me well on-screen,” says Harmanpreet. Among male leads, she likes Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan.

Besides being a movie buff, Harmanpreet is keen on football and PlayStation video games — quite a bit of her spare time is spent on these. And she loves being with friends and family, of course. Amid all this and preparations for the next World Cup — “Right now, we’re focused on winning the next World Cup,” she says — the thought of a biopic is interesting, but it can wait. “There’s so much more that I need to achieve,” adds Harmanpreet.

The buzz is that she is the strongest contender for the Indian women’s cricket team captaincy after Mithali Raj. Harmanpreet has solid credentials: she led the team last year for West Indies T20 internationals and Asia Cup one-day internationals, and India even won the latter tournament. “I enjoyed leading the team. But everything depends on the selectors’ faith in my capability,” says Harmanpreet.

Harmanpreet Kaur paid a visit to the Gian Jyoti Public School in Moga, Punjab, after coming back from England. She learnt the early lessons of cricket under coach Yadwinder Singh Sodhi in this school.

She wants to open a cricket academy in Moga, where both boys and girls would be trained. She says, “The best part is that in Moga, parents of young girls are encouraging them to take up [cricket]. Not just here, but all over India, there are girls who’re thinking of taking up professional cricket. I guess that’s a huge achievement for us.”

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First Published: Aug 09, 2017 16:06 IST