The first step onto the sacred stretch at nine and international debut at 17. The year was 1995 when Indian women’s cricket was blessed with this young lady, Anjum Chopra. Coming from a sports background, this Delhite was all set to conquer and become the ultimate face of Indian Cricket. The veteran player with the Padmashri and Arjuna award, a commentary enthusiast and motivating author, Anjum Chopra is not just a name but an emotion that brings together millions of dreams and aspiring cricketers to pursue what they’ve been passionate about. Anvesha Shah brings to you the story of this sportsperson, an inspiring cricketer millions look up to.

Q) What do you miss the most about the 22 Yards?
I don’t miss playing, honestly. If at all I feel like having a hit in the middle, I do go and have a knock.

Q) What do you think is holding back the Indian women’s cricket team from being world no 1?
Well there is nothing holding anyone one back. It is an individual’s hard work and preparation that helps the team collectively to do well. I don’t see any reason why the team cannot be world beaters. They just have to prepare towards it and be consistent.

Q) Any current woman Cricketer in whom you see your reflection?
No! I don’t see anyone. But maybe someone else can answer that better, someone who has seen me and the present players.

Q) How necessary is it to introduce Women’s IPL?
It is important for all players to play more competitive cricket than they do at present and if that requires more tournaments to be organised then tournaments are needed; irrespective of their name and title.

Q) Today, when you look back to the cricketing days, what do you think you could’ve done better? Or a change?
I could have trained better, physically and skill-wise, both.

Q) Was captaincy a turning point for you? Added responsibilities and respect at the same time?
Captaincy is always a step forward in the stance of a player in the team. It does come with its own responsibilities. Not that as a player one has less responsibility but the challenge is different. I enjoyed it, every bit of it. Whether I was leading India or my state Delhi or my corporate team Air India; all teams had different situations. The change was enjoyable.

Q) Was being a cricketer always the dream? If not that, what were your other passions that could be turned into profession?
Played a lot of sports in school. Professionally I used to play basketball also. Represented school, college, Delhi State also. Could have played more, but if tournaments ever clashed, I gave cricket the preference. Yes, once decided to play the game (cricket) – playing at the highest level was always the target.

Q) What is that one huge change you observe between your cricketing days and today’s women’s cricket?
Accessibility to facilities is a major boost. Attention to detailing and how to improve in a certain segment can be tracked and addressed. There are more opportunities (more than just a few years back) for oneself to become a better player each day.

Q) Tell us about some things that cricket taught you to make life better?

Sports in itself is a big teacher. Practical, realistic and real-life situations are learnt each day on the field. The sheer manner in which you lose one day and win the next day teaches everything. The array of emotions you experience teaches the importance of balance, humility; day in, day out

Q) A record you wish you’d made/broken?
I always wished to be a world cup winner. We had our chances, but couldn’t convert them.

Q) What defines success for you? Receiving the awards or felicitating others?
For me, success is a journey; not a destination. Receiving and giving awards are just the moments/ pathways on this journey. Idea is to keep moving and becoming better each day.

Q) A personal trait you feel gave a boost to your cricketing career?
Never quit, never give up. Keep learning each day.

Q) One thing you really want to do or say to the aspiring cricketers?
If you play the sport, play it with all honesty. Keep the passion alive and follow it relentlessly.

Q) What was the idea behind “Different Strokes?” What made you come up with this project?
I always wanted to work on a program like this; where I could get onto asking the achievers their side of the story. Not only the what, where, how questions; instead; focus on those moments that made them what they are today and the situations that they experienced in reaching their destination. Largely; I would relate to it and, if not, then it would be a nice learning experience for me and the audience. The idea is to share that extra information about my guest to the audience; especially one that is unknown about them.

Picture Credit: Sportstarlive.com

This Article Was First Published In Female Cricket

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