Indian Women’s Cricket is no more a poor cousin of its male counterpart. It has got its share of attention and adulation from cricket fans with some sterling performances in recent years. Poonam Yadav, the petite spinner, is one of the female cricketers who have delivered some of the most memorable victories on the ground. She is a star now but she has reached this position after immense struggle both on and off the field.
A humble beginning
Poonam belongs to Agra – a town in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Her childhood was riddled with struggle just like any other Indian middle-class family with limited opportunities to make ends meet. Her father Raghubir Singh Yadav, is a retired army officer and her mother, Munni Devi, is a homemaker.
She was a regular at local cricket stadiums when she was only eight years old but external pressure forced her father to restrict her movements. He finally got convinced only after her coach – Hemlata (A former selector of Indian women’s cricket team) spoke to him and assured him of Poonam’s immense potential. Her struggle didn’t really end there as she had to face “sexism” from all quarters in the outside world. But taunts and jibes didn’t deter her and she continued her journey towards excellence.
Turning obstacles into advantage
Poonam’s height restricted the options available to make a mark for herself in the cricket field. But she chose to turn this shortcoming into her biggest strength as it gave her a chance to bowl high and the trajectory often stumped the batsmen. Her bowling style became her biggest advantage and helped Poonam secure her place in the playing eleven. Her faster googlies are now considered as most dangerous deliveries.
- Poonam started her cricketing by playing for the Central Zone, Uttar Pradesh and the Railways in domestic cricket.
- She made her international debut in 2013 against Bangladesh in the Women’s Tewnty20 International tournament.
- She was the joint-leading wicket-taker for India in the 2018 ICC Women’s T20 Wolrd Cup.
- In September 2018, she became India’s highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 Internationals surpassing veteran senior teammate Jhulan Goswami.
An Inspiration For Many Girls
Poonam Yadav has proved that it is possible to turn your dreams into reality with immense hard work, resilience and perseverance. Her life is also a testimony to the fact that even your biggest disadvantages could become your greatest assets if you have the will. She will continue to inspire many girls like her for years to come.