Senior women's One Day league: A season to look for
Far from the fast-paced city of Vijayawada, leaning along the banks of the holy river Krishna, surrounded from the historic old Kundapalli forest ranges resides a lush green cricket field, Dr Gokaraju Liala Gangaaraju ACA Cricket Ground. Mightier than man mountain range in the backdrop and a little sunshine during winter makes this picturesque sight a perfect playground for Cricketing activities.
Unknown to the locals and around 2 KMs away from the national highway 65, somewhere in Mulapadu, the newly built Andhra Cricket Association facility is a home to various cricket tournaments happen under the aegis of BCCI.
Senior Women's One Day league has kicked off from 1st of December and for the 8 Elite Group A & B teams, the heart of Kundapalli forest has allotted as the match venue.
Taniya Bhatia led Punjab, Shalini led Chhattisgarh, Shastri led Saurashtra, Mithali led Railways, Zanzad led Vidarbha, Mansi Joshi led Haryana, Anuja Patil led Maharastra and Vainavi Gaurav led Goa are battling here for the final spots in quarters.
The beginning of a new season is always exciting for selectors, coaches, players and spectators for many reasons.
Like for Selector, their eyes are always hopeful for the young talent, who possess the calibre to represent the nation. In addition, the most improved player from the last season, who has put the hardest work in the training or nets and that confidence can be seen in the game. Moreover, some raw talent who can be taken to the national camps and nurtured for the future battles.
Playing under the banner of Elite Group, Chhattisgarh team is the latest addition to the table. Winning the associate championship in 2009-10 and left stranded for the next four years from all cricketing activities was a blow to deal with for these girls. As they revived in 2015, there is no looking back since then. Shalini, captain-cum-trainer of the team, carries a great sense of understanding with all the players of the team. The success of Chhattisgarh very much depends on the variety of bowlers they have in their arsenal. Hope they reap some great benefits to the team in the ongoing season.
For Coaches, it's always good to welcome some new players into the team and analyse how the seniors and youngsters are gelling and playing as a unit. They always face the challenge to create the best possible XI which suits the given conditions and opposition well. Slowly and steadily setting a trend and inculcating the mental toughness among the players as the time passes. Understanding all the personalities to their depth and getting the best out of them every time is the toughest task for any coach on the tour.
As of now, Spectators are little in attendance but this number would keep increasing as the tournament would go on. While having a conversation with a couple of visitors; some of them were far from the Vijayawada and some of them were locals, they said there are known to a couple of names like Mithali Raj and Anuja Patil that's what had brought them to this magnificent facility.
But they were excited to know more names as well. Like who is the captain of the team who's batting now, how does she play, for how long will this tournament will go on? The sense of excitement was seen that shows there is a hunger to explore the women's cricket among the spectators in India.
"Stepping down as a captain was one of the hardest choices to make but understanding her role very well in the team she is happy playing under the new captain and helping out youngsters in the team," mentioned the former Saurashtra Captain Mridula Kumari Jadeja. Boasting over a great bowling and batting combination Saurashtra is yet to open their account in the ongoing One Day league. It seems they have to tighten up their screws before they slip of the race of quarterfinals.
Considering the recent developments towards the upliftment of women's cricket in India the upcoming generation is very much hopeful towards playing for the nation and donning blues. For youngsters, these tournaments are stepping stone towards their career goals. From playing against various opposition from various regions of India to bettering oneself from season to season make them capable of handling the challenges/pressure they face on the way to the top.
It helps them grow comprehensively. While senior players, they are more determined than ever to take their chances to make it to the national team. They feel a little more pressure as time is running out of their hands but that's what cricket is all about, "Take your chances when you know you can outplay the opposition."
The season will keep rolling, players will keep battling hard for places, history will keep witnessing records after records but the joy of watching cricket under the little sunshine on a hill station during a chilled morning of winter will down with me for a long long time.