Thursday, September 10, 2020

Puddle and Me


 Trivial happenings that make so much sense to me!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Chotu 5 Star Lover

Everyone has a favourite candy or chocolate as a kid,

I loved 5 Star with all my heart, yes I did.

Whenever running errands, I’d save money,

Sang praises of my shrewd self, funny.


I’d consciously collect the money required,

One chocolate in a month was all I desired.

In the receipts of things bought I was interested,

Working maths, how many chocolates could I buy instead.


Everything in my world was somehow connected to 5 Star,

I loved the caramel and nougat mix covered milk chocolate bar.

Material world existed in the multiples of 5 Star for me,

All A+s would get me one, my parents would agree.


I am a grown up now and things have changed,

Anything for God to help us get our lives re-arranged.

I am a 90’s kid and love my childhood stories,

The mere sight of 5 Star brings back happy memories.



  



Friday, August 28, 2020

Humanity First

Help me break the door and come in,                    Do not judge me based on my sex, religion, caste, creed or colour of my skin.

Help me break the door and come in,

I believe in the Almighty, but my hope in human kind is wearing thin.


Help me break the door and come in,

I am tired of your fake sympathy urging me to take everything on the chin.


Help me break the door and come in, 

Before I lose patience, courage and the will to fight within.


Help me break the door and come in,

Born equal, but I fail to understand the cruelty bestowed upon me that sends my head into a spin.


Help me break the door and come in, 

Let’s talk about all the good we can do even with the unpleasant places that we’ve been.


Help me break the door and come in,

To hold your hand, bring you out in the open, where Humanity comes first and together let a new journey begin.




Friday, August 14, 2020

Beyond the Boundary and The Lillee Marsh Stand

For someone who is an absolute cricket nut, not going back and watching the T-20 World Cup videos of my bowling/ batting was difficult. After every tournament I play, I go back and watch all my videos for a good day or two. Yeah, I know, I am crazy. 

But this time over it was different. I didn’t want to watch them partly because the heart break after the final was immense. I take a lot of pride in having represented my country in a sport that I have  loved since I was five years old. Also, I have been fortunate to play two World Cup finals, and have learnt a lot on the way to these and even more from their results. 


Cut to today, I watched the documentary on my cell phone, in about twenty minutes or so- I fast forwarded or skipped most of it. My parents are even bigger cricket lovers than me. Remember, I am their kid, so yeah. They kept nagging me to watch it along with them on television via the streaming service. I said no initially but then had to give in to their wish. 


We started watching the documentary whilst having lunch. And I realised how well it was made. Kudos to ICC to even have thought on these lines. I had a smile on my face all along and I watched it till the end. My parents have always watched me playing live cricket on tv and they said for the first time ever they weren’t anxious and loved every minute of the documentary ( they even managed to locate me in there a fair bit of times). 


Watching the documentary today was such a relief and the emotions found a way out. Just to re-iterate the fact that cricket is a part of my life and it isn't the other way around. I still have some work to do on that front and I am happy that I am getting better.


On the brighter side- I now, am a part of a documentary on women’s cricket, that celebrates the T-20 women’s World Cup in the year 2020, which has been an absolute nightmare thus far due COVID-19. I found something to smile about in these testing times whilst praying for and contributing whatever little I can  towards the well-being of so many who are finding it difficult even to survive.


Cricket has taken me to some amazing places and has let me make some wonderful friends for life. Also, who gets to meet global Icons like Katy Perry and Billie Jean King in person and be part of a 'once in a life time celebration of women's cricket' with 87,000 people (86,174 plus the ground staff, organising committee, volunteers, the teams players and  support staff) in attendance at the G.





I have come a long way from being a brooding cricketer for whom perfection mattered the most. I have seen a lot of ups and downs in my cricket career. Now, I don’t repent anything that I have done or anything that has happened to me, good or bad because that has helped shape me to be the person I am today. (I, still, am never happy with the LBW decisions off my bowling  though 😅)


Believe me - The only thing I repent the most is not to have bowled a bouncer in the Bangladesh game when we were playing at WACA- a ground that has been my absolute favourite growing up, during any Australian home test series. It's a real shame that WACA has been relegated to the rear ranks and shall now become a community and sporting hub serving as a training base. To have been able to play on this ground, for sure, shall be one of my most cherished memories.



    The Super Happy ME!! Pic credits- Abhilasha Agrawal: winsport images

P.S. 'Champions keep playing until they get it right'- Billie Jean King: is my favourite sports quote and my personal e-mail account's signature.😉





Sunday, May 10, 2020

Aut Viam Inventam Aut Faciam

Aut Viam Inventam Aut Faciam: this has been my favourite quote for a while now. It is a Latin quote that translates to, 'I shall either find a way or make one'!

Over the last year I have been often asked this question - What changed?
I tried to figure out in this photo blog I compiled. 😼


2018: Such an apt picture. I had turned a blind eye to enjoying the sport. 

I made a resolution mid way through the year: Always believe in how good you are and never let anyone else tell you otherwise. For me, that was the start...



A little souvenir from that tour of Sri Lanka that taught me a lot about myself. It reminds me of all the hardships I have faced, not just on one tour but through my life.



Things I did to keep myself motivated. From the time I was presented with my India cap by Jhulu di, back in 2014 to this day, I consider myself truly blessed. 

Test cap no. 77
ODI cap no. 112
T20I cap no. 48




One of the best books I have read. I carry it along on tours and every time I read it, I tend to understand life better.




December 2018, Vijayawada: The three days I was admitted in hospital, I realised how precious life is. Also, for two days in a row, I dreamt of bowling with a mask on. My sister, who came down all the way from Hyderabad to look after me, isn't much of a selfie person and she thought I was/am mad when she heard my mask dream.

P.S. I wore the mask before if became mandatory!



I am a huge believer of having little affirmations. I have always written a diary and when I find something worth telling myself, it goes right in there.



This tournament was so much fun! It was a huge learning curve, and I genuinely believe I have so much more to learn on the captaincy front!



Loved playing in New Zealand. One country that I would wish to visit every year. Serene, quiet and picturesque.



Kerri was our local liaison during our trip to New Zealand. Such a kind and compassionate soul. She was responsible for pushing me to have a brave and transparent conversation, one that changed my whole outlook towards cricket and made me believe.

Tracy ma'am-I have known her for ten years now. She has been my saviour on tours. One of the most kind-hearted and genuine people I know.



Someone very knowledgeable once told me, 'Trust the process, results will follow.' The joy in enjoying the process is immense. I don't know, but I think it all started falling in place during the England series. I had a sea facing room, which meant the evenings were as good as the games.

Also, here's a random picture of the salad I would order everyday.



An item from the to-do list ticked off. As a kid I drew the Taj in my drawing books and submitted a social science project on The Taj, but to visit Taj Mahal was a surreal experience.

P.S: The company wasn't too bad either.



Still can't play the guitar that well, but I finally got down to hiring a tutor and taking classes. A niggle meant I spent a considerable time playing guitar at home and spending hours on my batting.

P.S. Long hours of playing guitar = Ulna nerve impingement. It's crazy how I find ways of picking up niggles and keeping the physio busy.



I had so much fun playing for Team Velocity. Amazing memories made playing alongside (and against) some great players. Highlight of the birthday was getting to speak to a legend of the game and getting back home to a surprise gifts from parents, who were visiting my sister and weren't home.



He was one of the best human beings I have known and a friend for life. Gone too soon....



Unprecedented rains made sure I improvised, found ways to train, dragged my parents along to synthetic tracks, read a lot and irritated my mother with crazy meal plans... healthy ones though.



Memorable tour! Largely thanks to my drone. I had an amazing time clicking pictures and videos. Also, got pictures taken with legendary fast bowlers, whom I grew up watching, and Sir Viv's statue in Antigua.


Hard work never goes waste. 2019 was no doubt pretty eventful!

I know I still have a long way to go....



P.S. I wouldn't be one bit the person I am if it weren't for these three. So we have been having these newsroom conversations from the time my parents started using smartphones. My sister: in Hyderabad or where ever her work takes her; me: wherever cricket takes me; my father: in the drawing room; and my mother: in the bedroom (of the same house). It's sad that they also take the bump on the road along with me, but I love them the most in this world.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Fireflies!!

I am an avid music lover and as a kid I learnt Tabla and Harmonium. I used to go to Bharti Bhavan to learn these instruments but couldn't continue because summer vacations meant the teachers who taught us, were asked to take music classes else where as the attendance of kids at my centre was low. I always was amazed with the kids who were part of the music club and played various instruments in our morning assembly at school. 

Moving on, I have always thought of my headphones as my saviour on tours. Firstly because listening to music is one of my favourite pass times and secondly because it saves me from listening to unwanted talks going around. I am a bit of a techie when it comes to choosing gadgets that I would like to own and so my new Sony headphones are my prized possession.


At home, my father and I like to listen to old Hindi songs on Saregama caravan that my sister and I gifted him on Father's Day in 2018.


Music is amazing in so many ways. The other day I was listening to a random song and it brought back memories from my Australia tour in 2016. So every tour of mine, I tend to listen to a list of songs that comprises of my all time favs and few others which I grow a liking to, during that tour.


Having so much time on hand, I decided to do this fun activity and really enjoyed putting together this list.


My Cricket Career, in my view, through songs ( mainly Owl City- because they are my favourite band).

  • 2007: Crush (David Archuleta)
  • 2008: Fireflies
  • 2009: Gold
  • 2010: Alligator sky feat Shawn C
  • 2011: Cave In
  • 2012: If my heart was a House
  • 2013: Dreams don’t turn to dust
  • 2014: To the Sky/ Winners Never Quit
  • 2015: A little goes a long way
  • 2016: Embers
  • 2017: Tidal wave
  • 2018: Waving through a Window/ Silhouette 
  • 2019: Invincible (David Archuleta)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

TEST MATCH CAP NUMBER-77

Four flights in three days. Delhi- Mumbai- Goa- Delhi- Mumbai.

On 3 August 2014, I met up with the Indian team in Mumbai on the day we were to leave for England. I had been called in to the squad as a replacement and was completely exhausted following what seemed like endless travel. However, when I arrived in the hotel, I was on top of the world. All the troubles were worth it because that night I was on the plane to England and was a step closer to playing in a Test match for my country. 

As a kid I always dreamt of playing a Test match for my country. I remember getting up early in the mornings— even during my board exams— to watch the Ashes in Australia, or the odd Test matches in New Zealand. My father always maintained that you are never considered a complete cricketer if you haven’t donned the whites. I always enjoyed the longer format and the thing I loved the most was watching the bowlers setting up the batters.

On the morning of 13 August I found out that I was in the playing XI… I was actually going to don the whites, pull on that deep blue cap and walk on to the field as a Test match player! My joy knew no bounds!

India was playing a Test after eight long years and only three players from our team had played the longest format before— Mithali di, Jhulu di and Karu di. Here I was, all ready to play in my first Test match in a team that had eight debutantes and against a team that had fully professional players.

So, after the mass cap presentation ceremony, we stepped on to the field. We had won the toss and elected to field first. It was a green wicket and we were playing four medium pacers— probably the only time I was in a team that had so many quicks— the dream only kept getting better!

The setting was ideal for a Test match: Wormsley ground housed in Getty estate, is probably one of the most picturesque grounds I have seen. Everything, starting from the pavilion, score board, media tent, and over to the practice wickets, were amazing. The spectators flocked in their private vehicles, got the foldable chairs out and enjoyed the Test match. Every run scored, every wicket taken and every run saved was cheered for no matter the team.

On the first day of the Test match I probably saw the best spell of fast bowling by a fellow Indian seamer. Niranjana Nagarajan (fondly known as Ninja) took four wickets in the first spell and was virtually unplayable. She had the ball hooping around corners and England’s batters had absolutely no clue how to handle her.


I remember my first Test match wicket clearly: Tammy Beumont lbw Shikha Pandey. The conditions were overcast and I was getting the ball to swing a lot. I pitched one up, she offered no shot and I appealed thinking the ball would hit the wickets. Luckily, the umpire saw it the same way! Some start to my Test bowling career.
My appeal face- something that needs immense work!!

We set incredibly attacking fields— sometimes even those 8-1 fields that I had heard Jhulu di would bowl a lot to. In the end it was a great effort to get England all out for 92 in two sessions. But we knew the pitch hadn’t eased out and we needed to bat well to get ahead in the game.

Third session saw a heavy downpour and it rained for a good hour or so. We thought that we were done for the day, but the ground staff did a great job getting the covers off and making sure the outfield was in good shape, and we were back on after 90 minutes. The session was extended and we kept losing wickets. England were on the charge, but we managed to get a 27-run lead thanks to a late seventh wicket partnership between Jhulu di and Ninja (in the act again).

Day 3 began with us hoisting the tiranga and celebrating the Independence Day. England made a real good come back in the 2nd innings and Sarah Taylor and Jenny Gunn in particular fought really hard. Shubhlaxmi Sharma (Shubhi to the rest of us) who was in the middle of a dream run, injured herself while trying to field a ball on the boundary— she dived over the ball and dislocated her shoulder. The injury not only meant that we were a bowler short, but that we had possibly lost one of our best old ball bowlers with a lot of time left in the game.

Shubh had dismissed Natalie Sciver in both innings with wonderful yorkers, and then got the better of Taylor with nothing short of a ‘jaffa’. She delivered a length ball that got Taylor to commit on the front foot. It straightened after pitching, just enough to take the off stump. A dream ball, no doubt.

However, Jhulu di was a class act and stepped up to the plate, She accounted for 4 of their wickets. Karu di’s dive in front of the first slip to get Knight, Smriti’s summersaults at short leg, and my no appeal caught behind wicket were the things I remember vividly from that innings.

I am not sure if I had mastered the art of diary writing then
We started our 2nd inning really well. Smriti and Thirush got us to flyer and runs were flowing of their bats. Smriti made a well compiled 50 and we seemed to be cruising. All of a sudden we lost four wickets and I found myself in the centre batting with Mithali di on the third evening. I was sent in as a night watchman.

I certainly take pride in my batting skills and I took it as a challenge. I was determined to bat as long as possible. Mithali di calmed my nerves. She asked me to keep it simple and get the bat on to ball. The ball was still doing enough off the pitch and we had 20 lbw dismissals in the Test already— a record for women’s Tests and we had equalled the men’s record too. At the end of the day, I had survived and was 0 not out off 18 balls.

As I headed back to the hotel in the team bus I remembered reading endless interviews about the anxiety staying not out over night brings to a batter. I am normally a sound sleeper but that night I hardly slept.

The breakfast next morning was one I shall never forget. The hot chocolate and hash browns (my staples through the tour) were diverted to my table without any questions, and it was made sure that I was well fed and ready to face the storm that morning. I was given throw downs and endless advice by batters after warm up. I couldn’t help, but think of it as quite funny.

The pitch had eased out and I was in the best seat to watch the poetry in display— Mithali di settling our nerves with a gritty unbeaten fifty. We needed 65 runs to win the Test and we got them before lunch. That I was out there at the end of it, made things that much sweeter…


The celebrations after the match were epic and we even borrowed an Indian Flag for pictures and thanked all the spectators that had turned up for the game. I got to know that Ninja made sure that everyone sat at the same places they had on the third evening. She herself went back to watching the game from the window next to the washroom…. I know what you’re thinking— cricketers and their superstitions!
What a feeling!!

At the end of it all, Jenny Gunn was declared a well deserved player of the match, but we knew we had won the hearts of the crowd, and pleasantly surprised most people following the game. Three players from the  opposition stood out to me in that test- Jenny Gunn, what an all rounder, Sarah Taylor (what a player) standing up to the stumps to medium pacers and a class act with the bat, and Kate Cross, great bowling action and temperament, kept coming at us without giving up.The respect for women’s sport is tremendous in England and we experienced the same 3 years later during the one-day World Cup.

We played another Test against South Africa and won it comfortably to round off our 2014. It was another incredibly special day in my career— one I won’t forget soon.


Cricket is such an amazing sport and Test cricket is the best format. I, Test match cap number 77, am privileged to have played the purest form of the game.