Rubina Chhetry: the inspiration of women cricket in Nepal

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Image: WCL Facebook Page.
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Women cricket isn’t a myth or an unsolved puzzle. It has a long history and their transformation from the ribbon color team to an international team of high caliber is something that we can be proud of.

The journey that began from the backyard in England to New Zealand, India, Westindies, to Australia at the beginning of this year in a full pack MCG on women’s day at ICC women T20 World Cup, Women cricket has come a long way. The most significant part of that event had been the arrival of Thailand cricket. The hospitable Thai team had every bit of fun in the tournament.

 Their captain Sornnarin Tippoch had everything in her and was the best leader for the Thai women team. Her smile and “Namaste” gesture of saying Hi in Asia became an integral part of them to pull a lot of people towards them. The documentary of that world cup event was recollected in ICC TV featured on Netflix recently named,” Beyond the Boundary”.

The most intriguing part of the documentary has been Thailand’s progression in the campaign. That splendid inning from Natthakan Chantham against Pakistan that made her first Thai women cricketer to score half-century at the World Cup.

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Seeing that the thing that hit my mind the most was about the guts of a leader, a women cricket torchbearer of Nepal Rubina Chettri who has a world record of taking 5 wickets in an over. A woman caliber and persona that made her join Melbourne Stars in WBBL in Australia.

If 2020 was ever a planned journey, it wouldn’t have been so exhilarating like it has been. The new normal was never expected to happen. And this week as the Premier League season has kicked off; we saw a famous comeback in the likes of Leeds United against the reigning champion Liverpool.

 Their presence at the highest level in 16 years was missed and what a match they displayed. Don’t get me wrong I am not here to take you all to Anfield via this piece of writing but I just wanted to make a built-up to the plot that I am going to present. This isn’t just a story but a voice of the strong women with grit, determination, discipline, and self-belief. Rubina Chettri, in the new edition of “The Flick”. Here’s what Rubina Chettri is all about.

Rubina Chhetry always wanted to be a cricketer. Her other preference was to work in the medical line as she was good in study. She missed her major exams and study preparation time to participate in various tournaments for the national side and to prove her critic wrong, she looks over all the problems to take Nepal’s women cricket wherever it is now.

She is working hard and beating all the odds to make women cricket as a full-time profession in Nepal. Talking with CricketConcern, she was bold and confident about taking women cricket to next level in a few years. “We as a group (National women cricket team) have worked hard and saved women cricket in Nepal so far, we were guardian-less in some stances, but I want to assure all the young women cricketers out there, you will never feel so”, Rubina Chhetry said.

“Things will change if we can qualify for up-coming Women’s World Cup”, Rubina Chhetry.

Rubina Chhetry is a person with a very calm and composed personality. Normally, any women player will request or appeal to give their concern in women’s cricket. She also does but in her own way.

“When Paras Khadka’s team qualified for the Twenty20 World Cup in 2014, it changed Nepali cricket. Similarly, one World Cup participation will change women’s cricket.

We are looking forward to that moment,” Rubina shared with Cricket Concern. “I will try and enjoy my game and keep things simple. If you are cool and calm, results will come your way.

We as a group have dreamt for it and we will go and try to achieve it with mutual efforts” She added when asked about her preparation for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier.

 Men’s cricket has transformed into full-time professional sports in Nepal when they represented Nepal in the global stage. Along with skipper Rubina Chhetry, we as a cricket-loving person, believe that a bunch of young lady cricketers will emerge after reaching the above-discussed feat.

We can stun strong side if we get to play competitive matches on a regular basis” Rubina Chhetry.

Rubina Chhetry is Nepal’s match-winner, both with the bat and ball. Nepal registered 66.66% wins when Rubina remained unbeaten in the crease. We have a number to prove her statement right, she averaged 20.55 since 2017 when Nepal played 21 matches between 2017-2019.

This might sound ordinary for all of us, as we have been following male cricket all year, but it’s an excellent number for any associate nations in Women’s Cricket. Besides this, she also has 23 scalps in 52.3 overs, conceding 202 runs since 2017.

The women’s team got only 12 matches between 2010-2015 while they played 32 matches afterward. As Rubina said, matches at consistent basis will lay the foundation to develop women cricket in Nepal.

Head held high, irrespective of the results.

“I always asked girls to put their head high and be proud of all the scarification that we are doing to represent our country”, Rubina answered when we asked her about her Mantra to win the matches for Nepal.

“Putting head-up doesn’t mean to ignore our weakness, it’s our ability to accept it and move on by rectifying it stepwise.”, She added. Nepal women’s team has come a long way with all the limited resources.

Biru Shrestha scripted Rubina Chhetry in Nepal women’s cricket.

Biru Shrestha is an eastern-region based cricket coach from Jhapa. Rubina Chhetry praised him and went out of the words.

“I cannot describe his contribution in words, simply, I’m all here because of his dedication and contribution”, Rubina said.

“He is the one who knows all of my cricketing strength and weakness from the close corner, and he still works hard to rectify those errors, I’m filled with thankfulness to him”, She added.

Appealing parents to be secure about those gender-wise abuse problem and allow their daughter to follow her dream.

“We as a cricketer never went through such a problem. Cricket Association and the government are very concerned with that issue and all the coaches, managers who are traveling with us are very qualified”, Rubina replied when we asked about the girl’s abuse problem in Nepal.

“I would like to appeal all the parents to feel secure on this issue and allow your daughter to play this beautiful game”, She added.

Women’s Champions League (WCL) is helping us to take Women’s cricket to next level.

Women’s Champions League (WCL) is a women’s first city-based franchise league in Nepal which is organized by Queens Events Pvt. Ltd in 2019 at Tribhuwan International Cricket Ground, Kritipur.

“WCL is helping us to take this game to next level, we were very happy and excited to play under the camera, audiences, all those set-ups which directly helping to upgrade women’s cricket in the country”, Rubina expressed about WCL.

“All those talents hunt program and all are helping to make grassroots cricket strong and it’s also providing us much-needed recognization which will motivate us and upcoming generation”, she added.

“Big thanks to the organizers and all the involved stakeholders for making it possible and we are eagerly waiting for its second edition”, She concluded.

Importance of Brand Endorsement to any sports person.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any brand endorsement so far, it’s not only about Rubina, no any women’s cricketers are approached by any brand”, Rubina talks about brand endorsement to women’s cricketers in Nepal.

“I don’t understand, why people aren’t interested in women cricket, leave about the brand endorsement, we even don’t have proper sponsorship so far, we are investing in our own”, She paused. “We will lose many talents with this kind of thing, because it’s not possible for every family to invest for this expensive game”, She said.

One of the well-reputed stakeholders of Nepali cricket (we don’t have permission to mention his/her name) said that a brand endorses a player with an expectation of visibility and goodwill which the brand will fetch from that player’s fan following and audience base.

A brand is not doing a charity. Which means, cricketers need to have the popularity to gain those contract and we find Rubina being very familiar with this fact. “We have come long so far, and I believe the brand will start endorsing us, once we qualify for the World Cup. 

We will be very happy to endorse women’s cricketer, the percentage of women participating in this sport is very minuscule, so sponsorship and hen endorsements will take a long time to fall into place.

It is only when this sport is popularised that more women will participate, the same stakeholder told us with a request not to mention his name.

Rubina Chhetry — The Inspiration

Rubina Chhetry is now becoming a household name for women’s cricket in Nepal. There are currently 9 International cricketers from Jhapa (Rubina’s hometown), all practice under Biru Shrestha.

She inspired another girl to pick a bat and ball. Talking with Cricket Concern, She expressed her desire to train girls cricketers after her retirement.

“I will play as long as I can, but I will stay with this game after my retirement as well”, Rubina said. “I haven’t thought deeply so far as I’m still playing, but I have the desire to open a well-facilitated cricket academy for girls cricketers”, She added.

Coming down the ground, we caught up with two twin girls who is traveling on cycle (5-6KM) to reach the academy and having a practice session.

“School is off and we are getting enough time to practice here”, one of her (Jamuna Roy) said. “We are from the same family (twin sister) and the academy (Patriotic Cricket Training Centre, Jhapa) allows only two of us to practice here.

Ganga Roy (another sister) said when we asked about Corona Virus (COVID-19 fear). “We only know Rubina Di (sister) and we want to become all-rounder like her”, they said.

This is only a small glimpse of how she is inspiring girls to play cricket. Its high time for all of us to prioritize women cricket as well.

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