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Team dream crushed, cricketer dies young
- Disappointed Jhuma commits suicide
Jhuma Sarkar

Badkulla (Nadia), Nov. 30: A woman cricketer who had been a regular in the Bengal under-19 team killed herself today after failing to make the state’s senior squad.

Twenty-three-year-old Jhuma Sarkar — trained by the coach of Jhulan Goswami, a fellow Nadia fast bowler who has made it big on the world stage — had been depressed at peers pulling past her, the girl’s family said.

The former Calcutta University player hanged herself with her dupatta from a ceiling fan at her home in Hanskhali, about 75 km from Calcutta, but left no suicide note, police said.

“The main reason for the suicide seems to be her deep frustration at her failure to get into the Bengal team. But we are looking into every possible aspect,” said Sujit Bhattacharya, the officer in charge of Hanskhali police station.

Swapan Sadhu, who coached Jhuma and Jhulan — chosen the world’s best woman cricketer of 2007 by the International Cricket Council — said Jhuma was talented but “over-ambitious”.

She had always been in a hurry for success, which had hampered her growth as a cricketer despite her “tremendous potential”, Sadhu said from Calcutta. “She became depressed when she saw women her age move ahead of her.”

Jhuma had aspired to be a cricketer since she was 13. At 17, she went to Chakdah to meet Jhulan — who is a few months older — and sought her help.

“I was thrilled to see her desperation and introduced her to my coach. But she wanted success too early. When we received accolades, she was depressed at not winning it for herself too,” Jhulan told The Telegraph over the phone from Calcutta.

For the past five years, Jhuma used to catch the early morning local to Calcutta to take lessons at Vivekananda Sporting Club in Golpark under Sadhu.

She made it to the CU and the Bengal under-19 teams, for whom she performed well at the national level, travelling to Jharkhand, Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa to play matches.

But Jhuma quit cricket six months ago after failing to make the senior Bengal team. Last week, her parents Sudhir and Neelima arranged her marriage.

“But she wanted to be a cricketer, not a homemaker,” said Sudhir, a constable with Calcutta police’s detective department.

Jhuma, who studied at a Naihati college, quit after second year and began playing for a Calcutta club.

“One day she came home in tears. She said she had been denied a place in the senior team only because she was poor. She told me she would never touch a bat or a ball again,” Sudhir said.

Last night, Jhuma cooked dinner and served it to Sudhir at their home in Bonogram in Badkulla, Hanskhali. Looking extremely depressed, she locked herself in her room, declining dinner and asking her mother not to disturb her during the night.

Around 7 this morning, when Neelima knocked on her door with tea, she received no response. The 50-year-old woman peered into the room through a peephole in the window and saw her hanging.

The neighbours brought the body down. “She was wearing a green salwar and white kameez. She died hours before we recovered her body,” an officer said.

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