Team India jersey fits Hazaribagh girl - Pacer Subhlaxmi Sharma started her cricketing journey by tagging after her brothers

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By VISHVENDU JAIPURIAR
  • Published 9.02.12
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From galli cricket to India colours.

In the narrow bylanes of Hazaribagh, a little girl used to tag along with a bunch of boys armed with bats and balls.

Today, pacer Subhlaxmi Sharma (22) has emerged as the only player from Jharkhand to be a part of the 15-member Indian women’s cricket team probables, after her performance at a Bangalore camp between January 14 to February 5 caught the eye of national selectors.

She will head for the West Indies tour between February 18 and March 4, comprising three ODIs and five T20 matches.

Back at hometown for a brief breather, a triumphant Subhlaxmi recalled her cricketing journey for The Telegraph.

“Yes, I started playing cricket with the boys when I was very young,” said the youngest of five siblings, including two brothers.

“My bhaiyas used to play cricket. I just accompanied them,” she smiled.

Then, as a student of Mount Carmel School, she went on to play inter-school and inter-district tournaments. By the time she was in Class VIII, it became apparent that she could out-bowl the boys.

She went on to train under her coach Manohar Singh at Sai Academy to hone her fast bowling.

In 2008, she was selected for the state team. In the same year, she got a job in Easter Railway as a clerk under sports quota, in Calcutta, where she is now based.

Father Rajendra Sharma, assistant sub-inspector in Kujju police station of Ramgarh district, chipped in: “But even then, neither I nor my wife Meera think she’d be part of Team India one day. Today, we are all very proud of her.”

Subhlaxmi had a disappointment last year.

“Actually, I was selected as one of the 20 probables for Team India,” smiled Subhlaxmi. “It was a slip between the cup and the lip,” she said.

She hopes it won’t be the same at the West Indies series this time and that she gets to play. “But my chances are high as I am among the top 15,” she said.

Her parents added that she stopped her studies after plus two to focus on her game.

Any regrets?

“Well, I do want to do my graduation,” said the girl. “But cricket has always been my priority,” she said.

So who was her inspiration? No, it wasn’t Dhoni or Sachin or Dravid or Sehwag.

“I look up to Jhulan Goswami, the veteran women’s cricketer. I admire her deeply,” she said.

Doesn’t it bother her that a cricket-crazy nation neglects its woman players? That a glamorous commentator Mandira Bedi is the country’s most famous female cricketing face, instead of the actual players such as Jhulan?

“No, all these things don’t bother me. I’d rather focus on my game,” she said firmly.

Women’s cricket has also been on a rocky pitch. India finished bottom of the table in both the ODIs and T20 internationals in the NatWest Women’s Quadrangular series in England last summer.

After the West Indies tour, coming up are Women’s World T20, in September 2012 in island nation Sri Lanka, and the Women’s ODI World Cup, in India in 2013.