Cricket! Cricket!! Cricket!!! What’s there in cricket? Do you see any future in it? Tell me, do you? I don’t know Paa, but at least I can give a try. Paa, I really want to be a cricket star. God damn it! Raghini, you are a girl and our only child. Do you think we do not know what’s good for you and what’s not? Now listen to me. From today onwards you will never ever mention about the cricket again. Do you understand me? You are either pursuing your higher education or else you are getting married. After all you are already 22 years old. But Paa. Shut your mouth and do as I say. My father walked away saying those words to me. There I remained silently in the room without having any idea about what to do and whom to tell.
Only yesterday, it was only yesterday I was told by one of my friend that my coach selected me for the national team. Why wasn’t I to be selected? I mean I was one of the strongest players in the group. My bowling is sharp and batting very sound. But what’s the use my father won’t let me play cricket. He wants me to join MBBS and become a doctor or else get married. What do I do? Where do I go? Whom do I tell? I am so confused. I have no idea about what to do. The only thing I know is that I have deep passion for the cricket. I think, if I was a boy, I could have easily got the permission to play cricket. Bad luck Raghini! Bad luck!! Life is such a bitch sometimes. As all these thoughts run in my head, my mobile rings. Hello! I answer the call. It was Rohini, my friend. Hey Raghini, the coach has called you for the practice match. Aren’t you coming? Upon hearing that I wanted to cry and tell her that my father has said ‘no’ to cricket. However, I lied to her saying that I wasn’t feeling well and will not come for the practice match today.
I wanted to hang myself to death. I wanted to commit suicide. But then I thought I cannot commit suicide like a coward. I will fight for my right and live my dreams. I will play cricket and will be renowned in the country and make my parents proud. With these thoughts in my mind, I put on my track suit, took my cricket kits and headed towards the ground for the practice match. I really do not know from where I got this courage to stand up against my birth-giving parents. But anyways this is my life and no one can control it until and unless I am wrong. I was determined to become a good cricketer no matter what cost I had to pay.
Upon reaching the ground, I saw that the match was about to begin. When the coach saw me, he hurried towards me and said, “Rohini told me that you were not feeling well. How are you now? Are you alright?” “Alright”, I said to myself in my mind. How can I be alright when my father has said ‘no’ to cricket? Anyways I lied to my coach by saying I was alright now and then hurried towards the dressing room to put on my jersey. Coach wanted me to open up with the bowling, as we had won the toss and elected to bowl first. So, now there I was holding the ball and taking run-ups to put my first ball to the opponent. God!!! What’s wrong with me? I told to myself. The very first ball went for a wide. I tried to concentrate in my bowling. I again took the run-ups, this time determined to take the wicket. But the ball was pitched far from the off stump and this gave the batswoman enough space to hit the ball. She hit the ball so hard that it crossed the fence and went for a four. Thereafter, I was continuously being thrashed for 4’s and 6’s. There I was standing in the ground feeling humiliated because I gave 32 runs including three 4’s, three 6’s and two extras in the very first over.
While fielding I missed two catches and failed to save two easy shots put on by the opponents. Finally, the innings of 30 overs came to an end and there the opponents had set up a mammoth total of 201/7. As I was heading towards the dressing room I was feeling so low because I had given 80 runs in just 4 overs that even without a wicket. “Shame on you”, I told to myself.
While we had the break, the coach came-up to me and asked, “What is wrong with you Raghini? Are you not feeling well? Why aren’t you being able to concentrate in the game?” I wanted to tell him all those things, which my father has told to me just some hours ago, but something stopped me. I don’t know what that was, but something stopped me. Maybe, it was the same feeling, which I had before, the feeling that I was not a loser. I was determined this time to give my 100% in batting.
In batting order, I was placed as a seventh order batswoman. While I watched my fellow friends being continuously bowled, stumped and caught a strange feeling of I must do it arose inside me. Now it was my turn to bat. The score on the scoreboard read as 80/6 in 15 overs. I thought to myself 15 more overs are left and to win we need 122 runs i.e. 8.33 runs per over. So, there I was holding my bat and waiting the opponent to bowl a ball. While the bowler was taking the run-ups I prayed to the god. Bowler put the ball. I could read her action. It was a short-pitch ball. I knew the field placement and knew where exactly I had to play that shot. As the ball dropped I struck the ball and it was flying all the way to the fence for a six. My teammates cheered up. I waited for another delivery to come. This time I guessed for a slower delivery and I was right, I struck on off-side over the cover drive area. I was able to collect two more runs for my team and for myself. This process continued and I could feel my heart was beating very fast. So, fast that I could almost hear the beat very clearly. The game continued and runs started to pour. At last we won the game by one wicket to spare as I struck the winning runs off my bat. At first I found it hard to believe. But there in the ground I was standing high with 78 runs not out in my name. My coach was very happy by my performance.
In dressing room, he asked me again what had happened to me before. My coach was very friendly and understanding person. Therefore, this time I didn’t li to him and told him all the truth. He then said that he himself will talk with my parents and will invite them to watch me play my next match. I was so scared that I could feel myself perspire. After the match I went to home. I was satisfied with my batting but my bowling really depressed me. It was the worst performance ever.
Next morning my father was calling me in loud angry tone. I went in front of him and asked him what the matter was. He briefed me about what the coach had told him yesterday. He looked very furious at the same time I was very scared. Somehow I happen to notice my mother smiling at me. I was so confused and irritated that I happen to ask my mother why she was smiling. At that moment my father smiled all of the sudden and told me that they will watch me play my next match. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was happy and nervous, both at the same time. I thanked them a lot and went in my room to call my coach. He answered my call and I thank him for what he had done for me. He told me to focus on cricket from now onwards.
From that day till today I have played a lot of cricket – both national and international. I have been very successful and whenever I see my parents enjoying my success, it makes me realize that I have been able to make my parents proud about having a daughter. I thank them heartily for giving me the chance to live me dreams and I feel very grateful towards my coach without whom I would not have been where I am today.