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In the Zone - North

Trainees from local academy relish bowling to international women cricketers

A bunch of trainee cricketers from the Chandigarh-based Leaders in Cricket (LIC) Academy are having a time of their life as they make the most of the opportunity to interact with international women cricketers who are here to play in the ICC Women’s World T20. The tournament which is taking place in India has not only provided these young women a chance to meet the top cricketers in the world, but also bowl to them in the nets at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) in Mohali.

Around eight women trainees of the LIC Academy have been given the opportunity by the PCA to come to the stadium and bowl to the visiting teams like Sri Lanka, Ireland and New Zealand.

It was a moment of glory for Punjab leg-spinner Rajni Kumari when she rattled Sri Lanka’s Yasoda Mendis’ stumps after beating the SL captain Chamari Attapattu during the practice sessions. Speaking about bowling to the Sri Lankans, New Zealand and Ireland cricketers, the excited spinner said, “It has been five years since I started playing cricket at the academy. We have never seen international women cricketers come here (Mohali) for matches. So for us, it is a treat to watch the heavy-weights play here. The PCA gave us a chance to bowl at them in the nets and we grabbed it with both hands. Some of the Ireland cricketers were surprised to see us bowl well. It was like a dream come true for me when I bowled to the New Zealand captain and all-rounder Suzie Bates. What an exceptional cricketer she is! The cricketers were generous to even chat with us after the practice sessions. It was amazing to be able to beat the Sri Lankan cricketers when they batted.”

The PCA Stadium has hosted two women’s matches till now involving Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Ireland. The big match between India and West Indies women is slated to take place on March 27 in Mohali. The trainees of the LIC Academy are pumped-up and look forward to bowl to the Indian Women’s team. 

Fast bowler, Priyanka Guleria, who also plays for Punjab, can’t wait to see the Mithali Raj-led Indian team arrive in Mohali and start training. “It was an enriching experience to bowl to the international cricketers. While international men’s teams often travel to this part of the world, the women don’t. The World T20 has provided us with this chance (to interact with them). Not only did we bowl at them, posed for pictures with them, but we were able to watch them compete in front of us,” she said while talking about the experience.

“I am very excited to now bowl to the Indian cricketers when they arrive here for their match against West Indies. I admire fast bowler Jhulan Goswami a lot. I am super excited to meet her and see her in person. She is my role model,” she added.
The other trainees who bowled to the women cricketers in Mohali include Manisha Badhan, Nandini, Muskan and Suman Rajput.

Former hockey stalwarts to guard players, stadium in Mohali

Renowned former India hockey players - Gagan Ajit Singh and Rajpal Singh are in charge of security during the six ICC World T20 matches hosted by Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) in Mohali, as both are employees of the Punjab Police. It is not for the first time that former hockey players will be looking after the security during the cricket matches held here. According to a PCA official, these former hockey stalwarts have handled the security duties during matches earlier as well.

Gagan Ajit (35) is posted as Superintendent of Police (City), Mohali while former India hockey captain Rajpal is the DSP (Traffic) of the city.
Speaking about his role Gagan Ajit, who joined the police force in 2007 said, “It's always an honour to don the uniform. First we were serving country as sportsperson, now we are serving the nation through the police force. We hope to deliver the goods in this capacity too.” He was also part of the Indian teams that competed during 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

Such former hockey players who are employed with Punjab Police have worked extensively with PCA in the past too for providing security during matches. 

Apart from Ireland, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and India women’s teams, Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia and India men’s teams have either visited or will be visiting the venue in coming days. The security force that involves former hockey players is focusing on security of players, public and managing gates. Former India Hockey captain, Rajpal Singh, who had led the team to a Sultan Azlan Shah trophy, a first ever Commonwealth Games medal and an Asian Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy title, also expressed a feeling of honour in pursuing his duties. 

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