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A maiden India call-up at 33, Asha Shobana hopes her journey will inspire other women cricketers


At 33, all-rounder Asha Shobana of South Central Railway (Secunderabad) is an inspiration for other women cricketers who contemplate quitting the sport in their late 20s.

For the Thiruvananthapuram-born cricketer who moved to Hyderabad because of a job in the SCR 11 years ago, it has been a real struggle, which culminated in getting a maiden call to represent India on Monday in the T-20 series in Bangladesh next month.

Shobana’s poor financial background (her father was an auto driver and mother housewife, and she was the only daughter besides her elder brother in the family), was no deterrent to pursuing her dream of making it big in women’s cricket.

“Yes, I feel I have set an example for all those playing in domestic cricket and think of quitting the game in the mid-20s for different reasons. They should keep enjoying the game and never give up,” Asha Shobana said.

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“Fortunately, I have had the right people at the right time in terms of supporting me every time I needed some help, financially when I didn’t have the money to buy even a proper kit and morally too. In this regard, I am always grateful to my first coach Aaron George Thomas, my mentor late Shabina Joseph, who helped me when women’s cricket was not merged with the BCCI,” she explained in a chat with  Sportstar after being felicitated by the SCR top brass here on Tuesday.

“Honestly, I was just hoping to get a call for the national camp, not for India itself. It is a huge and pleasant surprise. A dream come true for me and for my family,” she said.

“Playing in the WPL (Women’s Premier League) for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (winner this year) was a major turning point. It was a different kind of learning experience and in terms of exposure, just out of the world,” the senior technician in SCR said.

“Winning the WPL changed a lot for us in terms of recognition. Now, people recognise us and seek autographs and photo ops. The capacity crowds for all our WPL games were just awesome,” she said.

Asha Shobana celebrates after winning the WPL 2024 title with RCB.

Asha Shobana celebrates after winning the WPL 2024 title with RCB.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

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Asha Shobana celebrates after winning the WPL 2024 title with RCB.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“Well, Mithali has always been a huge inspiration for all those who played under her for SCR and the Indian Railways. I owe a lot to many in SCR including coaches, officials and teammates for making me feel in a comfort zone, though initially I was not familiar with any of the three languages – English, Telugu and Hindi,” she said with a big smile.

Reflecting on her own game, Shobana said she would try to improve a lot, especially after getting some invaluable tips from former India leggie L. Sivaramakrishnan.

Any dreams? “To be part of the Indian team and win the first-ever World Cup for us,” she said confidently.



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