August 30, 2016
Her father bowled the first ever delivery as she stepped into professional cricket training at age eight and years later she made history for scoring a World Cup century.
Thirush Kamini, who is known as the Lady Jayasuriya for her explosive batting abilities, became the first Indian woman cricketer to notch up a century in the 40-year history of ICC Women’s World Cup in 2013.
Speaking to The Covai Post, the Indian opener said, “Women’s cricket has definitely moved forward. It started gaining recognition from 2006 and 10 years down the line has seen an increase in the volume of spectators.”
“Women cricketers are now contracted by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), and this has pushed our status to a new level.
“This means we get to use first class infrastructure for training and enjoy a sound financial footing, both of which should not be a worry when playing sport at a professional level,” said the left-hand batter, who is an A-grade player.
Kamini made her debut as a bowler in international cricket at the age of 16 when she played in the 2006 Asia Cup in Jaipur where India won and she walked away with the player of the tournament award for giving her career-best three for 19 against Pakistan.
The 26-year-old leg spinner, however, said she is a batter at heart.
The ardent Dhoni fan is called a captain’s delight as “I’m an all-rounder and can pitch in when help is needed in any department of the game, and I’m reliable, I suppose,” she said with a laugh.
The Chennai girl took the game seriously from the word go and never remembered playing cricket on a lazy Sunday afternoon with little boys and girls in the neighbourhood.
“I always practised and thoroughly enjoyed every moment, though cricket was never a leisure activity for me.”
Her father M Dickeshwashankar, a professional hockey player, was her first coach, but she soon joined Sports and Development Authority of Tamil Nadu for professional training.
“As a child, I watched with unfazed interest along with my father the late night ODIs India played, and that was when, perhaps, he saw the spark.”
Kamini, who is an MPhil, said her mother insisted on academics and she did not disappoint her. But cricket was her passion and with her father’s support she brushed aside a society that jeered at her for playing cricket when she should be doing something ‘girlish’.
As she climbed the ladder as a sportswoman, she received a lot of support from her institutions and friends who she says were crucial in making her what she is today.
Even as a child, I used to work hard to balance cricket and studies, she said.
“I wake up early and go through a regimented routine, but all this has paid off.
“What you start at a young age is what you carry forward,” said Kamini, whose role model is Adam Gilchrist.
“He is a trendsetter, I look up to him and I see a similar batting trace in me,” she said of the former Australian player known for his aggressive batting.
Indian sportswomen have made heads turn by making their mark in the international sports arena like the Olympics, and now everyone has no choice but to take them seriously, said Kamini, who has set a world record in the highest second wicket partnership in the Test matches.
A keen Test player, Kamini said Tests are not taking a backseat with the mushrooming of various versions of one day tournaments.
Tests will continue to fascinate a select class of spectators who love the sport for its finer nuances while one day matches will play their role of entertaining people.
It’s like documentaries versus the blockbusters, she said.
Now with her eye on the 2017 World Cup, Kamini is busy practising – wielding her bat to perhaps write another chapter in the record books.