Few years back, in pursuit of getting an Engineering degree, cricketer Pawan Negi’s sister Babita Negi had got placed in Vidyapeet College in Pune. However, she did not want to leave her hometown Delhi, so she decided to stay back and enrolled herself in the local Gargi College. At the time, Babita’s younger brother Pawan was doing well for Delhi in the junior circuit. Seeing him to do well, Babita too took to cricket and trained to become a left-arm spinner. Pawan would go to Gargi College for training too and often helped his sister with her bowling. There was no looking back for Babita thereafter. She played for Delhi, North Zone, Delhi University and even managed to bag a berth in the India senior women’s camp in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Today, Babita is an employee with the Northern Railways, and trains at National Stadium as well as Gargi College ground. The 25-year-old credits the start to her cricket career to Pawan. She said, “Pawan started to indulge in the game at an early age. I was more into badminton when it came to sports. It did not ever occur to me that I could start to train to become a cricketer like Pawan. I was more inclined towards studies. When I joined Gargi College, Pawan really backed me. I can say I got interested in the sport due to him.” Babita and Pawan, whose roots are in Almora in Uttarakhand, were born and brought up in Delhi. Babita is very proud of her kid brother’s achievements and feels he has always been a star. “February has been a lucky for the family. It has been a double whammy for us. First, Titu’s (Pawan’s nickname) selection in the India team and then his inclusion in the Delhi Daredevils team for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premiere League (IPL). We are very proud of him and wish him success.” People have been pouring in with their wishes, said Babita, who was trained by coach Surjeet Verma in the initial years. Babita’s favourite cricketers are MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina.
On a lot many occasions, Babita and Pawan practice together either at the National Stadium or at Gargi College and enjoy the friendly banter.
“My friends from the cricket circle are too thrilled to see Pawan doing well in his career. They have seen him work hard. It would be great to see him perform well for India in the Asia Cup and World T20 followed by the IPL for Delhi Daredevils,” Babita said. Pawan used to play for Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings before returning to DD.
Punjab’s Harmanpreet, HP’s Sushma seal berths on Women’s ICC World T20
The Indian women’s cricket team rose to glory recently when they clinched their first series win outside India by beating Australia 3-2 in the three-match T20 series Down Under. Punjab’s Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar and Himachal Pradesh’s Sushma Verma did well for the team and secured berths in the Women’s ICC World T20 to be played in India in March.
Harmanpreet, 26, hails from Moga in Punjab while Sushma, 23, is from Shimla in HP. While Harmanpreet brings in experience as well as skills in batting and bowling departments, Sushma, a wicketkeeper-batsman has a sharp eye behind the stumps. Both are employees of Indian Railways and represent Railways in the India’s domestic competitions.
Like Harmanpreet is a role model for budding cricketers in Punjab, Sushma also enjoys an iconic figure for the aspiring women cricketers of the hills.
Harmanpreet, a right-hand batsman, has already played two World Cups and four World T20s. She made her ODI debut in 2009 and Test debut in 2014. Sushma, who will be keeping the wickets for India, proved herself in the role during the T20 home series against New Zealand last year. Sushma is the first woman cricketer from HP to have made it to the Indian team. At present, both are part of the ODI series in Australia.
Harmanpreet learnt early lessons of the sport at Moga under coach Yadwinder Singh Sodhi. Sushma, played various games such as Hockey, Handball and Volleyball besides trying athletics before sticking to cricket. Both the North Zone cricketers would also slug out against Sri Lanka in the three-match ODI series to be played at Ranchi from February 15-19. The Indian women’s team would look to beat Sri Lanka in the ODI series to gain confidence ahead of the World T20.