When England was playing the 4th test at Mumbai last year, Micheal Atherton quoted, “Game’s soul is not at The Lord’s. It is here!” Arguably, Mumbai has the richest cricketing legacy! Mumbai’s Ranji team have been crowned champions 41 times.
Mumbai’s IPL franchise Mumbai Indians is also the most successful team in the history of T20 cricket. The city has given the game some of the greatest batsmen like Tendulkar and Gavaskar. Now, Mumbai’s girls have started making a mark and taking giant strides in cricket.
Last year, Maharashtra’s Smriti Mandhana was one of the 2 Indian BBL signings along with Harmanpreet Kaur. She came into limelight after her blitzkrieg knocks in 2017 Women’s World Cup. Now, there is a new kid on the block rising through the ranks. She is Jemimah Rodrigues.
Born on September 5, 2000 at Bhandup, Mumbai, Jemimah started playing cricket when she was as young as 4, at an age when most kids are in the nursery. It took her 25 kms to travel to her practice destination at Bandra. At one time, she was also not allowed to practice as she was a girl. Being a naturally gifted athlete, she is also good at hockey and football and has played both the sports in her schooldays.
Jemimah’s first big break in cricket came very early in her career. She was selected in under-19 state team when she was only 12 during 2012-13 cricket season. She was also a part of Maharashtra’s Under-17 and Under-19 hockey team.
Jemimah made headlines on November 1, 2017, when she slammed 178 off 148 against Gujarat during U-19 Women’s domestic tournament. “I was targeting 200,” Rodrigues tells Wisden India of that Gujarat game. “There were some three overs left and I still needed 20-22 runs, so I was going for that. My coach also said go for it, but in that process, I lost my wicket (in the 47th over). Dad said, you played well, but if you had been not out and scored 200, it would have been better.”
“The better we perform, the more they will understand that there should not be this difference between men and women in the field of sports,” says Jemimah Rodrigues, the 17-year-old women’s U-19 Mumbai cricket team captain who scored an unbeaten 202 against Saurashtra on November 5, 2017.
“Since I have reached a higher level in cricket than hockey, I play cricket more often. I love hockey.” She further added.
She went on to follow the two big scores with 3 more hundreds in the tournament. So far in Women”s Under 19 One Day league and knockout, she has scored 834 runs from 9 innings with 5 hundreds at an astonishing average of 119. She could well be India”s next Mithali Raj!!
– by Atharva Apte