Ekta Bisht is on top of the world and she would like her World Cup good memories to linger on for sometime. The 31- year-old from Almora has a confession to make—that she started off her career as a fast bowler before she made the switch to slow tweakers. And mind you it was after much hestitation that she decided to turn into a spinner.
Ekta was speaking after her return from England where India lost to the hosts in a nerve wrecking final on Sunday. “ “ To start with I was a fast bowler who wanted to bowl fast. I used to bowl a lot with plastic balls. I used to enjoy beating the batsmen with sheer pace. I also dreamt of playing for India as a fast bowler,” revealed Ekta.
But one day her world came down crashing. She got injured while and had to sit out for a couple of months. It was then that her coach of many years Liyakat Ali told her to try her hand at spin. “At first it was tough since being a spinner requires a lot of patience, guile and craft. I was very skeptical about my chances as a spinner. But my Liyakat (coach) backed me to the hilt and he instilled me the faith that I could be a success,” she said.
Ekta also said it was tough to make it big if a player did not have without proper facilities. “I remember the hardships especially as she came from a small town. I had to go through as a youngster –where there were not many proper falicities. But I was determined to do well and I guess this is what saw me though to Team India,” she said/
Ekta also thanked her senior colleages Mithali and Jhulan for continually supporting her. “I must confess that I really owe to both Mithali and Jhulan for steading my nerves during the semi-final and semi-final. Their experience came in very handy as I was very nervous in the semis and finals. But they used to talk to me and steady my nerves,” she said/
Ekta also felt that there was a need to increase the number of domestic tournaments.”As there is no substitution for match practice, I think we need to have more tournaments at the domestic level. That is the only way we can improve our level,” felt Ekta.
Meanwhile, Mithali Raj, the captain of the women’s team picked her deputy Harmanpreet Kaur and youngsters Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma to succeed her when she decides to quit the game.
“As a player grows and gains experience at the international level, each one of them becomes a leader in their own respect,” MIthali said.
“Harmanpreet is there now, there might be Deepti Sharma, Smriti Mandhana…you never know whose destiny takes them, but this bunch of players has the ability to take up the challenge whenever it’s given to them,” Mithali told reporters here during the BCCI’s felicitation ceremony here.
Commenting on her future at the international cricket, the 34-year-old skipper said: “As a player you want to continue but it all boils down to fitness and form. No one knows what happens in the next four years as the next 50-over World Cup is in 2021.”
“But the focus now is on preparing for the ICC World T20 next year. I still feel that I have 2-3 years to serve the team and for this country.”
Mithali, who has played just 10 Tests in her 18-year long international career also stressed the importance of playing the traditional format, which she termed as “ultimate test” for any cricketer.
“A Test match is the ultimate challenge for every cricketer as it tests a player›s temperament, skills, and endurance level. It is very important to promote women›s Test matches but with the advent of T20 every cricket board wants to promote and market it in their own way.”