Selling gym and farm, Trisha Reddy’s father risked a move from Bhadrachalam to Secunderabad for her cricket

Ten years ago, Gongadi Reddy had to take a tough decision about closing his gym and giving up his job as a fitness trainer with ITC at his Bhadrachalam neighbourhood in district Bhadradri Kothagudem in then Andhra Pradesh. At stake was his only child, Gongadi Trisha’s dream of playing cricket.

Reddy, a former U-16 national hockey player, closed his gym and sold four acres of his farmland he owned over the years, to support his daughter’s training. On Sunday, the Hyderabad youngster played a knock of 24 runs and stitched together a 46-run partnership with Saumya Tiwari to help India women’s U-19 team chase a target of 69 runs against England U-19 women’s team in the final of the ICC Women’ U-19 ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa.

“I played in the state U-16 hockey team before I concentrated on my fitness business and job. I also played cricket along with hockey and wanted my child to play cricket. While she initially played in Bhadrachalam, but we had to make a decision to shift to Secunderabad to pursue her cricketing dreams and I had to sell my gym to one of my relatives at what was more than 50 percent less than the market rate. Later I also sold four aces of our farmland to support the training. To watch her help India win the U-19 World Cup is the reward for Trisha’s passion and for such a win, I can bear any loss,” said the proud father while talking with The Indian Express from Secunderabad.

Trisha with her mother Madhavi and father G Reddy. (Express Photo)

With him working in ITC and also managing his gym, Reddy and his wife Madhavi were blessed with Trisha in 2005. While Reddy would return home late often from his job and business, he would make sure that a toddler Trisha watched cricket matches on TV instead of cartoons at their home town having a population of 50,000. “When Trisha was born, I told my wife that we will show her cricket matches on TV instead of cartoons when she starts watching TV. When she was two and half years old, I started getting her to play with a plastic bat and ball. When she was five, I would take her to the gym along with me and bowl more than 300 throwdowns to her. Later I got a cement pitch installed at a local ground in the town and my time away from my job and gym was spent there coaching her” remembers Reddy.

It was in 2012 that Reddy made a video of Trisha batting in the nets and took the video to show to coaches John Manoj and Sreeniwas at the St John’s Academy in Hyderabad.

Manoj, who was the director of the academy at that time, recalls Trisha’s earlier time at the academy. “When her father came up with Trisha’s batting video to show us, we were impressed with her bat speed and hand eye coordination. To have such speed and coordination at a young age of seven years was superb and Sreeniwas and I wanted her to be a fine leg-spinner too. Having the technical knowledge of the game at such a young age meant that she was willing to train as a leg-spinner and would bowl the fast one and leg breaks imitating Anil Kumble’s action,” says Manoj.

Within two years of shifting to Secunderabad, Trisha played for the Hyderabad U-16 team in the Inter-state tourney in 2014-2015 season and then made her entry into the U-19 and U-23 state side the following year and later getting a chance in the U-19 challenger trophy.

“Sometime later, we discussed about Trisha with Nooshin Al Khadeer, who was the Hyderabad U-19 women’s coach. She was also very impressed with her and would spend time training her. Some time later, Indian fielding coach R Sridhar also joined our centre as part of his coaching programme and he made sure that Trisha became a fine fielder,” says Manoj.

Reddy is eagerly waiting for his daughter and believes that the risk taken will set an example for other families. “Trisha is our only child and we decided whatever it will be boy or girl, we will treat the child as our most cherished treasure. Me and my wife have always seen Trisha like a precious gem of our family. She likes drawing and will be bringing some sketches for us along with the Cup,” says Reddy.

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