How Army is helping women cricketers from Kashmir

by Editorial

Anantnag district in the south Kashmir region is always in the news due to multiple, mostly negative reasons. To counter this, 19 Rashtriya Rifles of Indian Army and Aseem Foundation had organised a Women Cricket League in this region in October 2020. Local teams from the district had participated enthusiastically in the League. Former cricket player, popular sports analyst and journalist—Sunandan Lele—had travelled to Anantnag for the final match of the League.

The women cricket team from Anantnag, Jammu & Kashmir has been travelling to Maharashtra for a Sports Exchange Tour scheduled from 6-15 February. The tour organised by Aseem Foundation includes visits to various cricket clubs in Pune, sports and fitness training, interaction with women cricketers, exploring new region of Maharashtra and also an exhibition match which was conducted on 13 February at the Nehru Cricket Stadium in Pune.

Sports is an excellent medium for bringing people together. Any sport played together, keeping aside all differences, can cast aside obstacles and build bridges of friendship. Sarang Gosavi, founder and president of Aseem Foundation, said: “This Sports Exchange Tour has given a new boost to resume work after a tough 2020 year.”

Aseem Foundation and the Indian Army have worked together earlier to bring people together through the medium of sports. Cricket tournaments such as Uri-Pune Friendship Trophy in 2017 and Samba-Pune Friendship Trophy in 2018, and football tournaments such as Assam-Pune Friendship Trophy in 2019 have been successfully conducted.

Gosavi said, “Aseem Foundation is very happy to include the women cricket players in this journey of Sports for Peace.”

In the exhibition match, the visiting Anantnag XI team won the toss and elected to field first. Their players justified this decision by stopping Pune XI team to just 87 runs in the allotted 20 overs. Gausia took 2 wickets and Raunak took 1 wicket. Skipper Rubia Sayed also restricted the run rate and did not allow Pune to increase the scoring rate. In reply, Anantnag lost one wicket in the first over and another in the next over, and it was looking like a difficult total to chase. But Anantnag’s next batsmen started playing with restraint and did not allow further damage. Another wicket fell with a few runs left to win. However, they kept scoring at a brisk pace, and skipper Rubia scored an unbeaten fifty to guide the team to win in the 13th over itself.

Major General Sandeep Bhargava, Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale (retd), Lieutenant General Vinayak Patankar (retd), Snehal Pradhan (women’s cricket player who has represented the Indian women’s team), renowned sports critic and journalist Sunandan Lele, ace actors Nana Patekar and Girish Kulkarni, and Madhuri Sahasrabuddhe (Chairperson of Women and Child Welfare Committee of Pune Municipal Corporation) were all present. Rubia Syed was awarded with “Best Batting Performance” and Ronak Jahan was adjudged the “best bowler”.

Sarang Gosavi, president of Aseem Foundation, thanked all the spectators, guests, as well as all the clubs and individuals who participated in the tour directly or indirectly and helped give exposure to the young women from Anantnag. This team from Anantnag is in Maharashtra from 6th February to 15th February. Its schedule was mainly centred in Pune, Mumbai and Konkan. Special visits of the cricket team were planned at prestigious clubs like Deccan, Poona Club, Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Academy, MCA, Shivaji Park in Mumbai. They will take back not just happy memories, but also a desire to go higher up in women’s cricket and represent India some time in future.

Team visits NDA, Khadakwasla

A team of 14 players of all women’s cricket team, Anantnag, Kashmir, visited the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla on 12 February. The team is visiting Pune and Mumbai from 6-15 February under Operation Sadbhavana, to promote sports and enhance interaction between populace from remote areas and rest of the country. As part of its visit to Pune, the team spent a day at NDA where it was provided an overview of various activities in the Army, Navy and Air Force training teams as well as at the joint training team. They also visited the famous Cadets’ Mess of NDA which can serve up to 2,000 cadets and saw a documentary film on the brief history of NDA in Habibullah Hall.

RAdm Atul Anand, Deputy Commandant & Chief Instructor of NDA, interacted with Rubia Syed (captain) and other members of Anantnag XI team and motivated them to strive for excellence in all their future endeavours.

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