Last month, Anjum Chopra did a Pataudi.
In town with the Air India team — though employed by a bank in New Delhi, the Indian women’s captain is a contracted player with the national flag carrier — the articulate Anjum spoke to The Telegraph on a range of subjects.
On taking to cricket
The biggest influence, early on, was that of my brother Nirvan. In fact, he represented Delhi colts and would have continued with the game had he not decided to make a career as a businessman… (Adds laughing) Also, playing cricket in the locality was the easiest way to get away from studies! Incidentally, my father (Krishan) was a champion shuttler, while my mother (Poonam) has been a pretty successful rallyist. Essentially, then, I come from a sporting family.
On being the legendary Tarak Sinha’s first female pupil
Oh, initially, he refused to take me on saying it would be odd coaching a girl amidst so many boys. Later, well, he relented… I’m grateful to my first coach, Hardeep Dua, for introducing me to Mr Sinha. I’ve learnt so much even though, at the beginning, I probably had to wait four hours for my turn to bat…
[Sinha is now coaching the national women’s team.]
On the many ‘hurdles’
There were quite a few, yes… Fortunately, be it in school (DPS, RK Puram), college (St. Stephen’s) or when I was completing my MBA (Fore School of Management), I was lucky that those in authority were responsive to the needs of a sportsperson. Quite simply, I found the right people at the right time.
On her idols
Mark Waugh… I’ve been bowled over by the elegant way he goes about his job… I like his composed and confident manner as well. He’s extraordinary. Of course, when I was younger, I admired David Gower — only, in those days, live TV coverage hadn’t taken off. I doubt, though, if cricket has seen a more graceful left-hander.
On women’s cricket in India
We’ve got to work very, very hard to ensure people take notice. Clearly, we players must do our bit consistently and, then, I’m confident attention from the Media and sponsors will follow. Frankly, women’s cricket today is still at that up-coming stage and regular international exposure is what we need. I remember we won the Centenary Cup in New Zealand (early 1995), but did nothing till the World Cup (late 1997) came along… Constantly starting from scratch is very, very demanding.
On whether a merger of the national women’s body with the BCCI will help
I’m sure it will… I’m sure women’s cricket will improve… The merger has already come about in quite a few Test-playing countries.
On whether she is envious of Sourav Ganguly and Co.
Not envious but, at times, the treatment we get does hurt. I mean, the men make bold headlines even if they lose. As for us, even significant wins hardly get (Media) coverage… Surely, at times, even we deserve headlines.
On the woman-management aspect of captaincy
(Laughs) I suppose it’s the same as man-management… Captaincy is both on and off the field and, so, the captain-player communication doesn’t end with the day’s play. I believe if one is tense off the field, it will be reflected in the game. Equally, if one is feeling good, positive energy is bound to influence the performance…
On learning from her role model captain — Steve Waugh
I’ve learnt to stay cool and not make a public show of emotions. Even if I’m tense, I won’t allow that to come through in my body-language.
On whether the women’s team too has a physio, physical trainer and computer analyst
No way… Our Support Team only comprises the coach and manager.
Finally, on whether she is relieved women’s cricket hasn’t been tainted by match-fixing
(Laughs again) When there’s no money, why should anybody be interested?
They finished their League engagements with 16 points from nine games while WB Police, who have 11 points with two more matches to go, are assured of the runners-up slot. Both teams will qualify for group A next season.
For Mohammedan Sporting, a club starved of success, today’s triumph brought unbridled joy to hundreds of supporters, who had braved the heat to watch their club in action.
The players, too, did not disappoint them. They dominated the proceedings and could have scored at least two more goals. Once a Mohammed Shahid deflection hit the bar and later Ramashankar’s hit missed the target by a whisker.
However, it was he who put Mohammedan ahead in the 18th minute. Captain Azam Ali’s brilliant stick work saw him get past a couple of defenders on the left flank and Ramashankar did well to follow the ball and place it neatly past the goalkeeper.
Mohammedan’s Bhim Kumar was also impressive with his anticipation and leadership qualities upfront.
Azam Ali — who hails from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh and has been with the club for three years said, “Team spirit and the boys’ hunger for success led to them emerging champions.”
FCI win 3-2
In group A action, FCI overcame BSF North Bengal 3-2. Gurvinder Singh, Julian Surin and Hardip Singh scored for FCI while Yakub Guria and Jeevan Gurung reduced the margin for the BSF team. The tie between FCI and Khalsa Blues ended goalless.
CESC will get a walkover after East Bengal did not field a side at their home ground.
According to secretary Gurbux Singh, BHA had refused East Bengal a 15-day postponement of their last three league matches.
The club, is clear of the relegation zone.
BRIEF SCORES: Wari 295. East Bengal 296/8 (Sourashish Lahiri 89, Naushad Akhtar 63, Srikant Kalyani 64, Alokendu Lahiri 32 n.o.; Ranadeb Bose 3/57, Pradiptya Mazumder 3/93). East Bengal won by 2 wkts.
N.C. Kolay meet
Shute Banerjee CCC and P Sen MCCC entered the quarter finals of the N.C.Kolay memorial junior cricket meet today.
United Club 122/6 in 25 ovs. Agragami Sangha 126/2 in 25 (Manoj Majumder 41 n.o.). Agragami Sangha won by 8 wkts.
Chandranath Chatterjee MCCC 228/4 in 25 (Taumin Hassan 81, Nilendu Roy 55, Sourav Dutta 53). Jodhpur Park CCC 151/6 in 25 (Hemen Bose 56). Chandranath Chatterjee MCCC won by 77 runs.
Russa United 133/9 in 25 (Surajit Halder 42 n.o.). Calcutta CCC 134/2 in 15.1 (Tanay Bag 81 n.o., Dibyendu Ganguly 32 n.o.). Cal CCC won by 8 wkts.
Sambaran Banerjee CA 118/7 in 25 (Sujay Mukherjee 31). Subhas Institute 119/0 in 20.1 (Debopam Biswas 54 n.o., Surajit Debnath 57 n.o.). Subhas Inst. won by 10 wkts.
North Howrah CCC 96/8 in 25 (Amit Shaw 4/15). Shute Banerjee CCC 97/5 in 18.1 (Avirup Ganguly 49 n.o.). Shute Banerjee CCC won by 5 wkts.
Agragamee 145/8 in 25 (Dhrubajyoti Pal Chowdhury 54, Manoj Majumdar 36; Priyanta Das 3/17, Vikramaditya Majumder 3/23). P. Sen MCCC 149/3 in 21.4 (Vikramaditya Majumder 48 n.o., Jitendra Patel 30). P Sen MCCC won by 7 wkts.
Sinthee Roy Para CCC 192/3 in 25 (Debashish Mondal 75, Hirak Dey 49 n.o.). Rajasthan 74 in 17.5 (Sushovan Das 4/17). Sinthee Roy Para CCC won by 118 runs.
United Club 176 in 24.5 (Ayan Chowdhury 54, Suvra Gupta 3/20, Sheikh Badal 3/27). BNR 181/4 (Abhijit Das 63, Subhasish Dey 40). BNR won by 6 wkts.
CAB XI and Bangladesh Cricket Board XI won their matches in the East Calcutta District Sports Council organised under-19 meet today.
CAB XI 178/6 (Santadeep Pal 45, Abhishek Chowdhury 39, Bikram Jaiswal 3/46). ECDSC 73 (Soumya Pal 4/14). CAB XI won by 105 runs.
Hyderabad CA 161/9 (Md Imran 52). Bangladesh CB XI 165/6 (Md Nayeem 43). Bangladesh CB XI won by 4 wkts.
Bengal boys and girls entered the semi-finals of the 10th mini (under-12) national volleyball meet in Gwalior today.
East Bengal drubbed Kasba Samannoy 12-0 while Bally Gramanchal got past Bidyut Sporting 3-2 in the women’s football league today.
Mohun Bagan’s executive committee today stuck to its decision of not taking part in the forthcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) championship league and resolved to settle all internal problems across the table.
3 pm: Swift And Silent 1. Cape Merino 2. Kilmore Quay 3.
3.30 pm: Forgotten Dreams 1. Ippodamia 2. Noble Appeal 3.
4 pm: Infinite 1. Bliss-Leavitt 2. Stage Secret 3.
4.30 pm: Rapacious 1. Premier Passion 2. Rich Treat 3.
5 pm: Salt Lake 1. Radical Force 2. Idaho 3.
5.30 pm: Long John 1. Changetheattitude 2. Infuriate 3.
6 pm: Soviet Fire 1. Alice Charms 2. Dhanasri 3.
6.30 pm: Route To Gold 1. Steve Tyler 2.
Day’s Best Salt Lake
Double: Forgotten Dreams & Long John
1. Aroma Plate 1,000m: (1-6-4) Flasher (Rajendra) 1; Fluency 2; Las Mareas 3. Won by: Hd; 3/4; (1-0.5). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 15; 26; Quinella: 53; Tanala: 114. Fav: Flasher (1).
2. J. D. & Peggy Banatwalla Trophy 1,600m: (2-7-3) Grand Passion (Rajendra) 1; Princess Sultana 2; Whispering Shadows 3. Won by: 6; Nk; (1-39.4). Tote: Rs 17; Place: 12; 17; 11; Quinella: 103; Tanala: 227. Fav: Grand Passion (2).
3. Silver Reef Plate 1,100m (2-6-1) Admiration (Chinoy) 1; Infuriate 2; Rosehill Gardens 3. Not run: Amaranza (5).Won by: 4-3/4; Nk; (1-6.9). Tote: Win Rs 55; Place: 15; 18; 42; Quinella: 108; Tanala: 1,867. Fav: Sakshi (7).
4. Beyond Tomorrow Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (2-5-9). High Handed (Appu) 1; Lucky Spell 2; Flames 3. Won by: 7-1/2; SH; (1-13.2). Tote: Win Rs 67; Place: 15; 16; 24; Quinella: 90; Tanala: 914. Fav: Cats Whiskers (8).
5. Beyond Tomorrow Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (11-2-10) Zante (M. Narredu) 1; Goin N’ Style 2; Ocean Stream 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 1-1/4; (1-14.5). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 12; 18; 22; Quinella: 54; Tanala: 240. Fav: Zante (11).
6. Elusive Pimpernel Trophy 1,400m: (3-5-4) Flying Scotsman (Chauhan) 1; Crowning Moment 2; Mille Fiori 3. Won by: 1-3/4; SH; (1-26.1). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 14; 12; Quinella: 20; Tanala: 207. Fav: Crowning Moment (5).
7. Racing Officials Trophy 2,000m: (5-10-4) Miss Sunshine (Sandeep) 1; The Complete Man 2; Saytarra 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1/2; (2-5.4). Tote: Win Rs 271; Place: 57; 34; 22; Quinella: 1,570; Tanala: 13,230. Fav: Safari Girl (6).
8. Racing Journalists Trophy 1,400m: (10-6-9) Moment of Pleasure (Appu) 1; Habit 2; Bachelor 3. Won by: 4; 3/4; (1-25.9). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 16; 31; 22; Quinella: 105; Tanala: 639. Fav: Moment of Pleasure (10).
9. Alcmene Plate 1,400m: (7-3-8) Whispering Rock (Habbu) 1; Seville Star 2; Divine Thoughts 3. Not run: Neptune’s Girl (13). Won by: 1-3/4; Hd; (1-27.4). Tote: Win Rs 260; Place: 70; 36; 23; Quinella: 1,495; Tanala: 14,508. Fav: Ragazza (4).
Jackpot: Rs 3,49,551; (Carried over); (C) Rs 4,994.
Treble: (i) Rs 137; (ii) Rs 361; (iii) Rs 49,562.