February 4, 2021 7:42:09 pm
Ranji player Rubia Syed is elated to be back on the pitch to play cricket after a gap of over 11 months. Syed, captain of Anantnag XI, an all-female cricket team from the city in Jammu and Kashmir, will visit Pune to play friendly exhibition matches from Saturday. Organised by the Pune-based Aseem Foundation and 19 Rashtriya Rifles (SIKH LI) of the Indian Army, the exhibition matches between teams from the two cities will be held between February 6 and February 13 at different venues.
“We had conducted the Dooru Premier League last October, where five teams had participated, of which the winning team will be coming to Pune. It is a friendship trophy so although it is an exhibition match, we also want them to carry something positive back. Our idea is to basically motivate them as it is very courageous of these players to pursue their passion for cricket. The 19 Rashtriya Rifles has been supporting the girls and after a joint conversation with them, we decided to conduct the matches,” said Sarang Gosavi, founder of Aseem Foundation.
Gosavi said the aim was to showcase the talent of the cricketers to the rest of India. “Women of Kashmir have always been at the forefront… their talent can be recognised by a spectator who can help the girls play for professional teams and clubs,” he said.
After the Anantnag XI plays against teams at Varroc Academy in Chinchwad and HK Bounce Cricket Academy, they will play their final match at Nehru Stadium on February 13.
Bowler and Ranji player Fancy Jan, who has played for the Jammu and Kashmir cricket team, said she is very excited to get the chance to play after a very long time. “With the pandemic and lockdown, everything came to a standstill at the same time, even our practices. The weather also is not very compatible as we do not have any indoor spaces to practice. Cricket is a sport I am fascinated about and so right now, the only thing running through my head is returning to the pitch to play,” she said.
“Although I have been part of national events like the Ranji tournament, this will be my first time playing a friendly match. We are a mixed team of 14 girls who will be playing in the city. It will help us get back in the groove of the game, so that we can make a quicker comeback for professional tournaments,” said Syed.
Syed also said that along with Jan, she trains the women with whatever skills and knowledge they have from their experiences playing in Ranji matches. It is here that they come across raw talent and passion for the sport.
“There are some new players in the team who will travel out of the state for the first time, who will get an exposure to new experiences. This initiative of sending the girls out of the valley to play should not stop as young players can come along with us to play in different parts of the country. There are many girls who wish to play but unfortunately, due to lack of support and exposure, they are unable to. So, even if we do not win the match, the girls will at least take back good experiences and learning,” she said.
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