Sehwag’s my inspiration: Kaur
Mumbai, Mar 22: From being completely ignorant about the existence of an Indian women’s cricket team to representing the nation, Harmanpreet Kaur has come a long way in the sport. The 23-year-old from Punjab has been the saving grace in some of the recent matches that India lost to the visiting Australians. The prolific run-scorer has grown up idolising audacious Indian opener Virender Sehwag.
Excerpts from her interview with bcci.tv:
On turning professional
I have been playing cricket for the last three or four years. When I started playing cricket, I was in the eleventh grade and the same year I captained Punjab’s Under-19 team. It was after that that I started to take the game more seriously and started thinking of playing for India. Those around me, like my coaches, supported me and encouraged me a lot.
On her beginnings in the sport
Before I turned professional in the eleventh grade, I used to play with boys and at that time my school principal Kamaljeet Singh Sodhi saw me and asked me if would join their college. He said, “I will pay your fees and everything and we will form a girls’ team.” Till then I wasn’t even aware that there were cricket teams for girls.
On her family background
My father is also a [cricketer], so when he used to go to play, I would tag along. It is because of him that I am where I am. My brother also plays. I used to go with him [to his games] too. I would think of playing for India but at that time I did not know that India had a women’s cricket team. [...]
There is a poster in my room of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag; but to me, it was just a Sehwag poster. I have always woken up seeing Sehwag and I always thought about meeting this guy and wearing the [India jersey] that he was wearing.
On her inspiration
My favourite player is Virender Sehwag. I started playing by watching him play. When I had first seen him, I had not seen his face – just the name on his T-Shirt – and since then, he has been my favourite. Then in the 2003 World Cup, when I watched him bat, I started following his cricket. I would watch how he hits the ball. He has a lot of positive energy. Even if he gets out [early], in the next match he is back with a clean slate; he looks positive in every match.
I have met him, spoken to him and taken a picture with him. I had the opportunity to meet him at the NCA during the India camp where he had come for rehabilitation. When I spoke to him, I told him about my batting and he encouraged me. He told me, “Never give up or become lax. Good and bad times come and go. We are the ones who have reached here, so never think negatively. Each day is a different day, so be positive always. If you play positively, it will help you.”
On the challenges she has faced in her career
My parents were very supportive, so I never had to face problems like being stopped from playing. They let me do whatever I want to do, play whatever sport I want to play.
On her favourite on-field moment
When we were playing the World Cup 2009 in Australia against Australia, Amita Sharma and I had a good partnership which helped us win the match. It was my debut match and I had scored [big] so it was a really big day for me.
On her unfulfilled dream
To lead India.
On being asked what she would be If she wasn’t a cricketer
I don’t know [what I would be] because I am not interested in studies or housework.