This might be the first time my hands are shivering to write anything under my heading that came so spontaneously to me. It’s not about telling a story of a female who enjoyed the game that she was actually always engaged for a long time.
It’s not about struggles and fights of a lady that beat all the odds to be in a position where she could actually tell her young fans to dream big. It is about once in a generation player that is born to show everyone how to use the talent provided by the almighty to set an example for her admirers and well-wishers.
I am still in a difficult situation where my mind wants me to imagine the position she might be into where she knew her passion needs a real bit of patience. She knew she was enjoying what she was doing but still somewhere in her heart she had doubts if cricket would be a permanent thing of her life or not.
The best part about the plot that I’m moving to and fro is that the inspiring character of this story didn’t think way too ahead. She took herself in the flow of the situation and continued enjoying what cricket has to offer.
They say “A leader is made not born” and as she moved forward she found herself to be in a position of being the best Nepali batsmen in women cricket of Nepal currently as described by the star and skipper of the women cricket team, Rubina Chettri.
My imagination of women cricket in Nepal wasn’t exciting. How can it be exciting as I am someone who has watched the downfall of men cricket in the absence of proper governance? I barely knew the magnitude of intensity that women cricket have in an offer to the audience.
I belong hugely in a mass of those who used to be proud in headlines of triumph and victories by women cricket team of Nepal highlighted in media and global platforms.
Little did I know about how such efforts are made in the absence of money, contracts, and the future of girls who could achieve the unachievable if proper care and plans were made to uplift them.
Women cricket in Nepal got its real recognition in the form of a domestic league which is the first franchise league in the history of women cricket in Nepal.
The Women Champions League (WCL) organized by Queens Event Management provided a chance for me to see some of the hardworking and gifted cricketers in women cricket in Nepal.
The first instance I saw a talented young girl hitting a lofted cover drive off Rubina Chettri got that pose of batswoman printed in my head. There I found pure batswoman who could time her on the drive and cover drive as good as any batsmen I have seen on television or live matches.
I was instantaneously connected with her and Indu Barma made me believe that women cricket had a lot more talent than what was expected out of them from us.
I got a chance to talk with Indu in telephone and I have tried to present our conversation in this section of “The Flick” as clearer as possible. Here’s what she had to say to some of my questions.
At what age did you start playing cricket?
When I started out, we didn’t really know much about women’s cricket, we used to play street cricket in our village for fun. The journey has been pretty simple for me, I have just kept playing this game for fun; I really didn’t expect anything in return. I was 13 year-old when our sports teacher and coach Basant Shahi took us to play District Level Inter School tournament.
What dragged your interest towards cricket?
Getting drawn towards cricket was something very organic. The first inter-school tournament went pretty well for me, which eventually developed my interest towards this game of cricket. I was adjudged woman of the series and woman of the match in the finals for my 35 odd-runs and five wickets.
How did you first get into the Nepal national team?
As I already said, I never took this game seriously. I was just playing for fun. We went to Nepalgunj to play a regional game. It was probably Under-13 tournament; fortunately I performed thereon as well. I was 14 and a half, when I went to Kathmandu to play the national games. I was adjudged as a player of the series in the Under-19 national game which helped me to get into the national side. I was shocked when my school Principal, Deepak sir (Deepak Gautam) informed me about my inclusion in the national side for Singapore tour. It came from nowhere and honestly, I was getting what I never dreamt about. I was pretty happy to represent my nation at the international level.
When did you feel that cricket is going to be my career?
Not long ago really, we are still not secure to make cricket as our career. It was just two-three years back, when I thought I should push to play this game. Players need to be financially secure to give their best in this field.
Tell us about your family’s contribution?
I’m still playing cricket all because of my family, especially my mother. She always supports me whatever I do. I had no hindrances from my family’s side and everyone is very supportive. I myself in fact realized very late about the opportunities in women’s cricket. Everything happened by chance. My father didn’t know it until I play for Nepal as he was abroad for employment. After that he also used to push me to do well.
Did you face any financial difficulties to manage cricketing equipment initially?
Not really because I used to play for school so we really didn’t think much about it as school used provide it all. And my family also used to support me financially.
What do you like apart from cricket?
I like to travel. I love to explore the places. I love to visit new places.
Do you have any cricketing role model, whom you look after?
Obviously, none other than Sachin Tendulkar.
What’s your take on Women’s Champions League(WCL)?
I believe WCL is something which is going to change the standard of women cricket in Nepal. The best improvement has been that the matches were broadcasted. When young girls see women playing cricket, they will also work hard to be on that stage. It will change the way society look at us, as it will provide social recognition. Apart of that, there are many things which we can take from the league.
It is trying to take women cricket to somewhere from nowhere. It was very memorable for me as I got chance to lead the team for the first time. I believe we need many more leagues and tournament like that to change the fate of women cricket in our country. Thanks to Queens Event PVT. LTD. for their effort to uplift the standard of women cricket in Nepal.
What is your best cricketing moment so far?
WCL (Women’s Champions League) is sweet memory for me so far. It gave me lots of satisfaction as I successfully led my team in the first attempt itself. Apart of that, I don’t remember exact statistics but the game I won for Nepal Under-19 against Thailand in 2014/2015 with an unbeaten 45-odd runs. That was and still is a very good feeling.
In your view, what kind of steps should be taken to promote women cricket in Nepal?
The first and foremost thing is women cricket is not professional sport in Nepal so far. We should make it professional, so that all of us can give 110% on and off the field. Governing body (Cricket Association of Nepal) should have contract with women cricketers, so that we can focus completely in cricket. Once we take this step, numbers of cricket loving girls in the country can proudly say that my dream is to play cricket for Nepal. Secondly, women cricketers should take in limelight, to which many young girls can look after and idolize them. I believe, with this kind of exercise we definitely can move to higher standard in no time.
Do you have any suggestions to young girls who want to become cricketers in future, we will appreciate your suggestion.
If you had asked me this question few years back, I would have said them not to take cricket seriously. I would have suggested them to play it for fun and go with the flow. But I believe things will change in Nepal slowly. I really believe, with right kind of support from government, fans, media, women cricket in Nepal will be professional sport in few years. So, keep playing girls, one day all of us will shine together.
The practice sessions of cricketers are very tough with strict planning of diets and sets of exercise but I’ve seen women cricketers toiling very hard and playing cricket drinking tea and eating local biscuits. The contract isn’t available and their future is very insecure but one thing that is always available is their passion towards the game.
If proper care is taken the doomed sky full of gray clouds could turn into the bright side of the sun with hopes and positive vibes turning into victories and advancement of women cricket in Nepal. The talents like Indu Barma can easily set a benchmark for millions of girls to carry bat and kitbags with a dream of hitting glorious shots like Shefali verma of India in the world stage.
The timing and talent is justified by the support of the system which infact is the quantum for development. I strongly believe that this section of our magazine has justified the hidden and suppressed voice of a natural talent like Indu Barma who isn’t far behind the best cricketers of our country.
If Paras Khadka’s lofted six over long on is the heartbeat and Sandeep Lamichhane’s Googly is the voice of millions of chants of reverberation of our nation’s name “Nepal” “Nepal” then Indu Barma’s on drive and lofted cover drive is our soul that makes our flag flap with all swings that make us proud every day.