It was a historic moment for Nepal cricket on Tuesday as one of its cricketers Rubina Chettri, became the first woman from Nepal to be selected to join a training program in the Australian domestic T20 competition, the Women's Big Bash League. Rubina will be representing Melbourne Renegades in the upcoming season.
Bhawana Ghimire, president of Cricket Association of Nepal, took to her Twitter account to make the announcement.
Rubina is one of the few women cricketers to have benefited from the joint initiative between Cricket Australia (CA) and the International Cricket Council (ICC). The CA and ICC had agreed on an initiative to provide an opportunity to the emerging players in non-traditional cricket countries such as Hong Kong, Ireland, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, China and Nepal, in order to improve their standard of the game.
Rubina Chettri is a 22-year-old right-arm all-rounder who is termed to be an exceptional death overs specialist and more than handy with the bat. She is also the captain of the Nepal women's cricket team.
Rubina broke into the limelight following her bowling exploits in the 2009 ACC Women's T20 tournament in Malaysia. In one of the matches in that tournament, the Singapore team needed two runs off the last over for victory with five wickets in hand. While Singapore were looking well on course to register a win, Rubina Chettri turned things around completely.
She took the onus of bowling the deciding over and pulled off a miracle by taking five wickets in five balls and the match ended in a draw following a wide delivery by her. Nepal eventually went on to win the match in a bowl-out. The spectacular over by Rubina was hailed by many as she became the first Nepalese cricketer to register a hat-trick in the international arena.
Interestingly, Nepal made their international debut in the 2007 edition of the same tournament. The current national team is coached by Shyam Sun Jung Thapa and their manager is Sanjaya Raj Singh.
Rubina's bowling figures have been pretty impressive in the last few T20s that she has played this year. The right-armer has picked up six wickets in the five games that she has played so far, however, it is her economy that has caught everyone's eyes. She has managed to keep her economy rate well below 4 in almost all the matches. She has had a decent run with the bat too.
Apart from Rubina Chettri, there are seven other rookie cricketers from nations such as Hong Kong, Ireland, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and China, who will be playing in the Women’s Big Bash league for the first time.