Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Anjali made her opportunity count

UP Warriorz’s Anjali Sarvani celebrates a wicket.

UP Warriorz’s Anjali Sarvani celebrates a wicket.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Back in November, Raipur hosted the senior Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy. It was the last chance for the country’s fringe players in their biggest season yet: the Women’s Premier League, though not announced yet, was around the corner; the series against Australia and the T20 World Cup were closer.

Though she didn’t take too many wickets, the left-arm seamer caught everyone’s eye. She looked really good, good enough for international cricket.

“How many years have you been playing cricket?” she was asked. “10,” said the 25 year-old from Hyderabad, with a wistful smile.

Four months later, at a Mumbai hotel, Anjali Sarvani was smiling broadly. She had made her international debut in December, in the series against Australia, and was part of the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup in South Africa. She was also bought by UP Warriorz for the WPL.

“I never was as tense as I was during the auction,” she said. “I desperately wanted to be part of a franchise. Money didn’t matter. I was like ‘take me for free.’” But Warriorz paid ₹55 lakhs for her. “I was excited to join Warriorz and be part of a team that had pacers like Shabnim Ismail whom I admired,” said Anjali. “And I found how funny players like Alyssa Healy and Sophie Ecclestone were off the field.”

Recalling the years she toiled away without recognition, she admitted that she was left wondering what to do. “I wasn’t willing to give up. When my parents wondered if I had made the wrong career choice, I tried to convince them I hadn’t.”

Anjali was an athlete before switching to cricket. “I was a sprinter and long-jumper and had participated in the Nationals. I was planning a career in athletics but my father encouraged me to play cricket.” She is glad she listened to him.

#Anjali #opportunity #count

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