While he has been longing to see his son Yuvraj Singh don the national colours again, Thursday brought in good news for former India player-turned-coach Yograj Singh: One of his wards, Taniya Bhatia, earned a berth in the women’s India ‘A’ team that will take on the New Zealand eves in a one-day (ODI) warm-up match to be played next week at Bengaluru.
While cricketers like Kapil Dev, Ashok Malhotra, Yograj Singh, Chetan Sharma, Dinesh Mongia, Yuvraj Singh have emerged from Chandigarh, no woman cricketer has ever managed to hog limelight like Taniya has.
The 17-year-old wicket-keeper cum batswoman, who learnt her early cricket lessons at the academy at the DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, has become the first woman from Chandigarh to make a national team. Known to be a hard task master, Yograj trained Taniya for three years and always believed that the lean-looking teenager would one day wear the Indian team jersey.
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Taniya, who has been dominating the women cricket in the region representing Punjab for five years, managed to impress the national selectors, during the recently-held ODI tournament for Challengers Trophy at Mysore. Her innings of 67 runs for the India Green team against the India Blues was the highest individual knock by any batswoman in the tournament.
Speaking to Newsline, Taniya said she felt that this was a step closer to her dream of representing the national squad. “It is an amazing opportunity for a young cricketer like me to have got a chance to play in a match against the Kiwis, who are very formidable and play high-voltage cricket. I played the Challengers Trophy matches with belief and confidence, I am happy that the selectors showed confidence in me,” she added.
While the selectors have also announced probables for the main ODI series that starts on June 28, they have not named the squad for the T-20 games. The Kiwis are scheduled to play five ODIs at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru followed by the three T-20s at Alur in Karnataka.
The selectors decision to not name the T20 squad is extra motivation for Taniya, who could make her debut if she shines in the warm-up match. “I will have to keep my nerves and concentrate on delivering the goods. I am just thinking of doing well in the warm-up match whatever happens after that will be a bonus,” said Taniya, who has passed her senior secondary exams from DAV Model School, Sector 15, Chandigarh.
“Taniya is a young cricketer, who has managed to attract eye-balls in the recently conducted Challengers Trophy. She has miles to go.
“I am hoping to see her blossoming in the coming years,” said former India cricketer and chief coach Shanta Rangaswamy about the Chandigarh-born cricketer. Her parents, Sanjay Bhatia (Central Bank of India employee) and mother Sapna Bhatia were the ones who introduced Taniya to the game. The youngster emerged as the highest run-scorer (227 runs and 10 dismissals in four two-day matches) in the U-19 inter-zonal cricket tournament in Guwahati where she captained the North Zone and was then drafted into the Senior North Zone team that included established Indian cricketers.
The Chandigarh cricketer will also be keeping her eyes on the T-20 World Cup that will take place in India in 2016. “I am aware that big tournaments are on the anvil for the Indian team. I need to do well in whatever game I get to play whether it is for India ‘A’, Punjab, North Zone or Chandigarh. My aim is to break into the Indian team soon and live my dream,” felt Taniya, who looks up to Indian starlet Harmanpreet Bhullar.