Jemimah Rodrigues is the jolliest person off the pitch but becomes extremely serious just before she goes out to bat, according to her Indian teammates. Explaining how she makes the transition, the 19-year-old said there are two distinctly different sides of her personality — the bubbly live wire off the field and the quiet batsman who does not like to speak much when playing.
“There are two different Jemis. If you see me when I bat and if you see me off the field, I am two completely different people. Away from the field, even in the dressing room, I am bubbly, a live wire. But when I have to enter the field, I like to get into my zone. I don’t like talking much,” Rodrigues said on an Indian Express Facebook Live session on Thursday.
“I have tried having conversations while batting but I have realized that it doesn’t suit my personality. What gets the best out of me is to be in my zone. My personality is that I don’t talk much when batting. So that’s the only time my teammates see me being quiet,” she said.
Rodrigues also spoke about how she had to make a “tough decision” between pursuing hockey and cricket at a time when she had been excelling at both sports.
“My parents used to think I would represent the country in hockey… They were extremely emotional when news came that I had been called up to the Indian cricket team (in 2018),” she said.
She added that the experience of having played hockey has helped her in terms of fitness and endurance on the cricket field. Her wrist work and footwork have also benefited from her time having played hockey, she added.
With cricket, hockey, basketball, and guitar as part of her skill set the teenager certainly has an enviable resume than most people can achieve in a lifetime.
On the leadership of Harmanpreet Kaur, Rodrigues said that the best thing about her captaincy is that she did not try to change herself as a person when she was handed the reins. “Harmanpreet Kaur is always supportive and always wants to win. I’m very glad that she stuck to that. She is aggressive but that is what gets the best out of her and her team,” she said.
In 2019, the youngster was among the select few Indian players to feature in the Kia Super League (England’s T20 tournament) where she scored heavily for the Yorkshire Diamonds and also went on to register a 51-ball 100 for her team. For Rodrigues, it was an invaluable experience not only because it helped her game but also taught a lot about life.
“It was a completely different atmosphere when compared to the time I have with the Indian team where I am comfortable with everyone and I know the people around me. But my teammates at Yoksrhire were really sweet and made me feel like a part of a family. I had to cook my own food (which I’ll never make anyone taste. We also had to do our own chores and then play cricket.”
“Conditions were different but the batting tracks were lovely. The 100 in 51 balls was really special. The year before in 2018, Smriti Mandhana scored a century and then while scrolling through social media I took a screenshot of her celebration after the hundred. I used to look at that picture and thought to myself ‘when will my time come when I’ll score a century in a T20. And the very next year it so happened that I scored 112 in 58 balls chasing 185. That was a wonderful experience.”
Asked to name her idols, the youngster from Bandra named Rohit Sharma for his effortless batting, Suresh Raina for being a positive and approachable person, Mithali Raj for consistency and Sachin Tendulkar because he is an inspiration to everybody playing cricket.
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