Poonam Yadav was born on 24th August 1991 in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Also, she plays in jersey number ’24’ for India Women. Poonam was born to a retired army officer, Raghuveer Singh Yadav, and Munna Devi.
Since childhood, she used to dress up like boys and usually played with boys more than girls in school and locality. She was a sporty girl from the very beginning and injuries, scars, or marks never really mattered to her. Her interest in cricket developed at a very tender age.
Initial struggles for Poonam Yadav:
At the age of eight, she started going to the stadium to play. But due to society and external pressure, soon, her father disallowed her to continue. One day, she ran away to the stadium without her father’s permission and brought her coach, Hemlatha Kala, home to talk to her parents. The former selector of India Women’s cricket team finally convinced him about her playing abilities and after that, he never stopped Poonam from playing cricket. Despite family support, she faced a lot of “sexism” from all quarters in the outside world. People around would pass comments on how can a girl play cricket or how can a girl come home late. But, she never paid attention to that criticism and focused only on her dream.
Soon, she was selected in the Central Zone domestic team. Then, she became a part of the Uttar Pradesh team and presently, she represents Railways in the domestic cricket. There was a time, around 2009-10, when her performance while playing for Uttar Pradesh dipped significantly and she had nearly thought of quitting cricket. But her coaches helped her rebuild her confidence. According to her, joining Railways was the turning point of her life as her game improved like never before and she never looked back after that.
Poonam Yadav – The spinning Wizzard
Although she had an interest in other sports activities, her short height did not go well with any other sport and, in cricket, it became a blessing in disguise for her. With her unique ability, she developed the skill to land the ball very near to the batter and became a highly skilled leg-spinner. While playing her, the batters are lured to step out of the crease and usually end up getting stumped behind the wickets. That is why a major part of wickets taken by her comes through stumpings.
Poonam Yadav with her mother and father
She made her T20 international debut against Bangladesh on 5th April 2013 and seven days later, on 12th April 2013, she made her ODI debut against the same opponents. The only international Test match she played, was against South Africa on 16th November 2014.
Poonam Yadav’s go-to persons
Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Jhulan Goswami are her go-to persons in the Indian team. Particularly, she credits Mithali Raj for always guiding her about what and how to ball to a particular player or in a pressure situation.
Poonam Yadav’s dream-come-true moments
She was selected for the 2017 Women’s World Cup and her superb performance against Sri Lanka was one of the highest points of her international cricket career. Playing World Cup final at Lord’s and post-tournament meeting Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi were two ‘Dream-come-True’ moments for her.
Poonam Yadav – The Arjuna awardee
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. Also, she is the only front-line bowler who has been in every T20 match for India in 2018. Due to her commendable stint with the ball in 2018, Poonam Yadav is nominated for the ‘Arjuna Award’ by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India.