A lot earlier than the time period ‘3D cricketer’ got here into vogue, Rumeli Dhar exemplified versatility and set the worldwide stage on hearth together with her all-round prowess.
Rumeli bowled medium tempo, may open each batting and bowling, and was a gun fielder. Such ’excellent’ all-rounders are uncommon in Indian cricket and that’s the reason she was an enormous asset to the Indian girls’s crew between 2003 and 2018.
For a participant of her pedigree, it’s a pity that Rumeli performed solely 78 ODIs, 18 T20Is and 4 Checks over a decade-and-a-half. She ceaselessly made an impression whereas donning the Indian blue, however premature accidents severely hampered her progress on the worldwide degree.
Hailing from West Bengal’s Shyamnagar, Rumeli dabbled in a number of sports activities whereas rising up. Nevertheless, it was in cricket that she discovered her calling.
Rumeli burst onto the worldwide scene in 2003, making her ODI debut towards England at Lincoln’s Bert Sutcliffe Oval. Curiously, she made her Take a look at and T20I debuts towards the identical opposition in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
The late 2000s noticed the all-rounder’s meteoric rise as she performed a pivotal function in India’s march to their maiden Girls’s World Cup ultimate in 2005 and was additionally the joint-highest wicket-taker for her facet within the 2009 T20 World Cup with six scalps in 4 video games.
Rumeli was at her peak round that point and fashioned a wonderful bowling pair with Jhulan Goswami, complementing the latter’s sheer tempo together with her accuracy and parsimonious economic system.
As destiny would have it, a shoulder harm in 2012 compelled her out of the nationwide crew and the following six years have been all about going via the grind of home cricket. Using on her robust home performances, Rumeli stored pushing for an Indian recall, nevertheless it appeared to evade her because the selectors determined to infuse younger blood into the crew.
Ultimately, in 2018, Rumeli did earn a recall to the Indian crew for a T20I collection towards South Africa in South Africa, after Jhulan was dominated out attributable to a heel harm. Her ‘unlikely’ return to the worldwide fold drew comparisons with Sourav Ganguly’s epic comeback in the identical nation in 2006. However she ended up taking part in simply three matches earlier than being snubbed once more. Rumeli was 34 on the time.
This time, the writing was on the wall and in 2019, she returned to Bengal after representing Air India, Railways, Rajasthan, Assam and Delhi within the years passed by. Rumeli continued churning out match-winning performances as Bengal captain and even registered her maiden profession hundred and maiden hat-trick throughout final yr’s Girls’s Senior One Day Trophy.
On June 22, Rumeli introduced the curtains down on her taking part in profession and expressed her need to turn out to be a coach. On July 14, she began her new innings because the bowling coach of Baroda’s senior girls’s crew and the function will assist her acquire some essential expertise earlier than the inaugural Girls’s IPL kicks off subsequent yr.
In a latest dialog with Sportskeeda, Rumeli, who captained India on a solitary event in 2008, mirrored on her eventful worldwide profession and shared her views on varied subjects associated to modern girls’s cricket.
Listed here are the excerpts:
Q: You scored the maiden hundred and took the maiden hat-trick of your profession throughout final yr’s Girls’s Senior One Day Trophy. Why did you announce your retirement regardless of being in such good type?
Rumeli: I just lately accomplished my Stage 2 teaching course on the Nationwide Cricket Academy (NCA) and felt it was the suitable time to begin my teaching profession. I believed I ought to give extra precedence to teaching because it’s my forte.
If I needed, I may’ve stretched my profession for one more couple of years. However I didn’t need to do this. I needed to retire peacefully and begin my teaching profession as early as doable. I feel I’ve so much to supply as a coach.
Q: Who was your cricket role-model whereas rising up?
Rumeli: I didn’t have any cricket idol as such. I used to play lots of tennis ball cricket with my elder brother. My brother at all times needed me to subject as I used to be fielder. My mom was fairly fascinated about cricket as a result of she was an enormous fan of Ravi Shastri.
Q: Did you aspire to turn out to be an all-rounder again then?
Rumeli: I had no concept what my function can be sooner or later (laughs). I needed to do one thing massive, ideally via a sport. I’ve labored very exhausting to realize that purpose. I liked taking part in every kind of sports activities in my childhood, be it cricket, soccer, or volleyball. That’s how I drifted into cricket.
It was my uncle Tultul Chatterjee who initiated me into cricket. Later, I began coaching below Prodyot Mitra. Throughout a go to to Shyamnagar, he noticed me play amongst 100 boys and was impressed with my efficiency. Earlier, sir used to come back to Shyamnagar solely as soon as every week, however after seeing me, he began coming extra ceaselessly.
Q: What did you get pleasure from doing extra in your childhood – batting or bowling?
Rumeli: I loved fielding greater than the rest. My uncle didn’t need me to turn out to be a wicketkeeper. He needed me to make good use of my top and turn out to be a pace-bowling all-rounder. Initially, I used to be averse to the concept as I wasn’t eager to run exhausting (guffaws). Nevertheless, as soon as my uncle and Prodyot sir pushed me to bowl quick, I began having fun with it. That’s how I turned an all-rounder.
Q: You additionally had an inclination in the direction of gymnastics in your childhood. Since groups put lots of emphasis on energy and health in modern girls’s cricket, how necessary is it for a budding feminine cricketer to play a number of sports activities?
Rumeli: First, a baby ought to be keen to play a number of sports activities. If somebody is targeted on a selected self-discipline, they need to be decided to be the perfect in that. In fact, health has turn out to be extraordinarily necessary in modern girls’s cricket. Regardless of no matter sport you play, it’s essential work actually exhausting in your health.
Q: You fashioned a formidable new ball partnership with Jhulan Goswami throughout your peak interval. When did you first meet her?
Rumeli: So far as I keep in mind, I first met Jhulan in 1998. A yr later, we spent lots of time collectively on the nationwide camp forward of the 2000 Girls’s World Cup. We’ve grown up collectively and share an important friendship. Possibly that was mirrored in our bowling partnership.
Q: You have been an integral a part of the Indian crew that reached their maiden Girls’s World Cup ultimate in 2005. Why did we’ve to attend till 2017 to witness a real revolution in Indian girls’s cricket?
Rumeli: We didn’t take into consideration any change on the time as we have been all busy with the World Cup. Again within the day, we simply adopted our ardour and performed the game. Different issues didn’t matter a lot. Reaching our first World Cup ultimate was an enormous achievement. Clearly, you need individuals to acknowledge and respect your accomplishments.
I feel the 2005 World Cup paved the best way for the Girls’s Cricket Affiliation of India’s merger with the BCCI. It was our mission to play below the aegis of the Board of Management for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the 2005 World Cup was an enormous step in that path. A variety of women picked up the game after the 2005 World Cup and began believing that cricket may very well be a profession possibility for them. The media, too, are doing an important job of their protection of girls’s cricket.
Q: The Indian girls’s crew used to play solely a handful of matches within the early 2000s. How did you keep your health through the lengthy low season?
Rumeli: Throughout my job with Northern Railway, we used to have a camp within the night. It was obligatory for us to report back to the camp by 1.30 p.m. day-after-day. Our coach Rajesh Nair motivated us so much. He made certain that we have been engaged in a single sport or the opposite.
Even when we weren’t taking part in cricket, we’d both play badminton or soccer. From my very own expertise, I can let you know that badminton is a sport that massively boosts your health and hand-eye coordination.
Q: You suffered a number of harm setbacks throughout your taking part in profession. As a coach, what recommendation would you give your pupils in order that they will handle accidents higher?
Rumeli: Accidents are half and parcel of a sportsperson’s profession. In case you aspire to play on the highest degree, you must be mentally ready to undergo accidents. I’d advise budding cricketers to give attention to health coaching. In case you’re match sufficient, you’ll have much less possibilities of getting injured. Plan your health program as per your physique kind.
Q: Your unbeaten 66 received you the Participant of the Match award in India’s first-ever girls’s T20I in 2006. How did you method the brand new format?
Rumeli: It was a day-night match towards England in England. We approached the format as a 120-balls-a-side affair. We needed to play as few dot balls as doable. England have been extra skilled within the format, having performed extra T20Is than us. Nevertheless, we didn’t panic and have been specializing in one ball at a time. That was how we managed to chase down the goal (108) with 4 deliveries to spare.
Q: With girls’s cricket changing into more and more aggressive, do you assume the boards ought to appoint sports activities psychologists to take care of the gamers’ psychological well-being?
Rumeli: I feel it’s essential to have sports activities psychologists accompany the groups as a result of the variety of matches has gone up. While you play repeatedly, you want counseling. There shall be instances in a cricketer’s profession once they’ll really feel extraordinarily low. A sports activities psychologist may also help them get via these moments.
Q: Lately, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) introduced an equal pay scale for his or her female and male cricketers. Do you assume this may encourage different boards to undertake an identical method going ahead?
Rumeli: I feel it’s an important initiative. Different boards ought to take a leaf out of NZC’s e book. Even when there isn’t an equal pay scale in all international locations, I hope the pay hole will get decreased.
Q: Which uncapped gamers from Bengal are prone to make their worldwide debuts quickly?
Rumeli: I feel Dhara Gujjar and the U-19 crew’s Titas Sadhu have likelihood of incomes nationwide call-ups. Each have carried out fairly effectively of late. That mentioned, they should proceed scoring extra runs and taking extra wickets. You’ll solely be thought-about for a nationwide call-up in case you play effectively constantly for 2 to a few years. That’s what Richa Ghosh did to interrupt into the Indian crew.
Q: Richa has been named as a standby for the upcoming Commonwealth Video games, whereas Taniya Bhatia, who has a decrease T20I strike-rate (94.31), is a part of the 15-member squad. How do you view this choice?
Rumeli: The Indian think-tank is rotating the gamers, so all people is getting equal probabilities. Richa is an efficient hitter, however Taniya is a greater wicketkeeper. Even Sneh Rana was not a part of the squad for the just lately concluded Sri Lanka tour.
Sneh was dropped as a result of she was requested to work on her health. No one questioned that call. Likewise, Richa ought to work exhausting to enhance her health and wicketkeeping expertise.
Q: After a very long time, India have discovered pace-bowling all-rounder in Pooja Vastrakar. What are your expectations from her?
Rumeli: Pooja is a real all-rounder who could make priceless contributions with each the bat and ball. She’s additionally an important fielder. She ought to be given common probabilities and he or she ought to make the most of these probabilities to cement her place within the crew. I feel she’s a star within the making.
Q: Can we count on to see you as a participant within the inaugural Girls’s IPL subsequent yr?
Rumeli: I need to commit myself to teaching from hereon. Though the choice of taking part in within the inaugural Girls’s IPL may appear tempting, I don’t need to delay my teaching ambition. I’d love to educate a Girls’s IPL facet. Let’s see.
Q: Your favourite pastime?
Enjoying gully cricket with my elder brothers.
Q: Your favourite cheat meal?
Q: In case you may spend a whole day with a world participant from one other sport, who wouldn’t it be?
Q: Your favourite cricket stadium?
Lord’s. I opened each batting and bowling for India on the venue (grins).
Q: In case you have been requested to both rating 10 runs or defend eight runs off the ultimate over of a T20 match, what would you be extra comfy doing?
Q: Outline your self in a single phrase.
By no means surrender.
Q: Your favourite feminine all-rounder at current?
Q: Your favourite batting and bowling performances from your individual profession?
Batting: The unbroken 106-run partnership with Anjum Chopra towards England through the 2005 World Cup.
Bowling: My maiden hat-trick towards Himachal Pradesh.
Q: If you weren’t a cricketer, what would you’ve turn out to be?
Possibly a gymnast.