Call from Harmanpreet Kaur, road shows across cities, invited as chief guest for India U19 World Cup winners

A call from Indian women’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur, road shows across cities, invited as chief guest to Khelo India Youth Games, having fans wait outside home for selfies, and visits to their respective schools. That’s where the junior World Cup winning Indian U-19 women’s team members have been busy at, since their return to India.

While the team was hosted by BCCI during the third India-New Zealand T20 at Ahmedabad on Wednesday, the World Cup winning cricketers were still soaking in the historic moment.

Left-arm spinner Mannat Kashyap, who took nine wickets in the U-19 World Cup, told The Indian Express from Patiala: “I started training as a spinner due to Harmanpreet didi’s advice to try practicing being a chinaman bowler before I became a left-arm spinner. Harry di called yesterday and had a talk with me and told me to congratulate all the team-members. She told us that she watched the whole World Cup and each one of us will be replacing them in the senior team in the future. That’s what I told the children at my school today that they too can dream of playing for India one day.”

Kashyap and her father Sajiv, who runs an ice-cream business in Patiala, were busy attending to aspiring cricket trainees and eager parents visiting their house to enquire about how to put their girls in cricket. While off spinner Archana Devi’s day started with a haircut at a salon in Kanpur before she got busy attending felicitations. Devi, who belongs to Ratai Purwa village in Unnao district, lost her father and brother at a young age and started playing cricket under coach Kapil Pandey at Kanpur.

“Kahan bus mein baithne tak paise nahi hote the aur aaj plane aur five-star hotels main baithte hain aur ghar open jeep mein le ke ja rahe hain (There were days when I did not have money to travel in a bus and now I have sat in planes and five star hotels apart from being taken home in an open jeep).”

During her time in Kanpur, she had read about the Indian senior women team reaching the World Cup final in 2017. “Today, a friend sent me a newspaper with an article and picture of me and I put it in my suitcase to show to my mother tomorrow at Unnao,” shared Devi, who claimed two wickets in the final.

1120 kms from Unnao, Ranadeep Sadhu is busy attending calls from local politicians regarding requests for inviting his daughter Titas Sadhu, who was the player of the match in the final against England, In Chinsurah, Kolkata, while many local politicians came to their home without informing, Sadhu took time out to visit her school apart from getting a call from former Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami. She was welcomed by CAB president Snehasish Ganguly at the Kolkata airport.

“I can count 18-19 functions till now which Titas has attended so far in the space of a day and a half. As I talk with you, there are some local politicians dropping bouquets at our home. Yesterday, her team-mate Hrishita Basu suffered a head injury when a camera person’s camera dropped on her head,” Ranadeep said.

A rally of 30 bikes and cars will start from her home in Chinsurah on Saturday afternoon. Titas got to meet her grandmother Tripti Sadhu for some time before she again got busy. “She loves home food and we told her it will be some days before she gets to eat that (laughs). But one thing which we are certain of is that it’s just a start for her,” said Ranadeep Sadhu, father of Titas Sadhu.

Bhopal cricketer Soumya Tiwari, who hit the winning runs for the winning Indian team on Sunday, is getting ready to attend the Khelo India Youth Games in Bhopal on Friday evening. Tiwari reached Bhopal late night on Thursday and was taken in a cavalcade from the airport to her home in Shahjahanabad in Bhopal by father Manish Tiwari and coach Suresh Chainani.

“Each member of our street wanted to receive Soumya and they stayed in the street till late chanting her name till midnight. From the city legislators to the officials, all have been visiting our home. There were some school girls, who came for selfies with Soumya earlier in the day and wanted to see her kit. She happily obliged. We are invited to Khelo India Youth Games and with people watching it on TV, we want to say only one thing, girls are no less than anybody,” says Manish Tiwari, who works in Bhopal Collectorate.

While Devi is eagerly waiting for the celebrations to end so that she can watch her favourite spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav in action against the Australians in the Border-Gavaskar trophy, she wants to have the chulha-made roti and potatoes at her village home. “I have always followed Ashwin bhaiya and Kuldeep bhaiya actions to imitate how they rotate the ball. When I was not getting wickets in the World Cup, I remembered Kuldeep bhaiya’s talk about not being fearful of batsmen. Sachin sir told us on Wednesday that the journey should not just stop here. That’s the aim of each one of us, and to play for the senior team and win the world cup one day,” says Devi.

There is only one thing which Devi wishes she could do. “My father loved me the most. My younger brother Budhiman was waiting for me to play cricket when he played on his own and went to the adjoining house to fetch the ball, when a snake bit him and he died. I wish they could be in the cavalcade cheering me,” concluded an emotional Devi.

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