With the changing scenario in Indian Women’s Cricket post-2017 ICC Cricket World Cup, the nation has got plenty of new faces, namely – Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Richa Ghosh and a few. However, Ghosh’s selection came under a different scenario as the 16-year-old got her call-up for the mega event – T20 World Cup.
How many of you have thought that?
No one, probably!
But, a stunning show in the Challenger Trophy earlier this year propelled Richa Ghosh in the T20 World Cup squad. Having played Under-19 cricket at the age of 11 and got selected for the senior team certainly proves how impressive and talented she is.
Ghosh played an important role in India B’s journey to the final. In the second match, she scored 25 off 26 on a rather slow track, where India B were reduced to 26 for 4 against India C. Coming in to bat at 20 for 2, Richa showed a great intent.
The next one was in the final group league match, where she scored a quickfire 36 off 26 balls while chasing 149 against India C. After losing both the key players – Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues, the onus was on her to take the team home. In four games of the Challenger Trophy, she had 98 runs in her kitty.
From there to ICC T20 World Cup and now for the Women’s T20 Challenge – her journey was too fast to even realize.
Well, for a few, it certainly not, as the seed was planted much before.
She was called for the senior Bengal camp in 2012-13 and after her Senior T20 debut in the 2017-18 season – Richa Ghosh has evolved as a dependable middle-order batter.
Moreover, who can forget her 39-run partnership with veteran Rumeli Dhar in the final of senior domestic T20 tournament that included two huge sixes off the fast bowlers?
Well, this didn’t come by chance, she worked for it and now her hard work has been paying off.
Richa Ghosh made her debut in T20I against Australia during the Tri-Nation T20 Series. In the mega event, she played against Bangladesh and in the final against the mighty Aussies. Her big-hitting ability earned her a name in the Trailblazers squad led by Smriti Mandhana.
Under her leadership, Richa had played the Challenger Trophy as well. While speaking to Women’s CricInsight, the young talent revealed that she is happy to be named in the Trailblazers’ squad and she has been enjoying her journey so far.
“I was hoping for my selection and I am super excited as well since it was my first time. My family was elated too,” the elated youngster shared.“I have already played with Jhulu di (Jhulan Goswami) and Deepti (Sharma), this will certainly be comfortable. And, I have played with/against others as well – be it Challengers or any other format. So, the comfort level will be there.”
However, her journey so far is pretty impressive and the young talented batter referred to it as “quite exciting”.
“The journey so far is quite exciting. Amid this pandemic, no one would have thought of a good time but I am lucky that I am having it. I stayed with my family during this situation. Since I get hardly any chance to stay with them for a long time, I enjoyed the entire time with them,” Richa Ghosh told.
Meanwhile, it was tough for the sportspersons to keep themselves fit amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the entire world into a standstill since mid-March, more so with its imposed lockdown.
With minimum facilities at home and later the help of Bharat Cricket Academy – she managed to keep herself match-fit.
“Whatever possible with minimum facilities at home, I did try to use for my fitness. After the Bengal camp started online, I managed to gather my equipment at home as well. My father set up a concrete pitch where I practised knocking.
After that, I got the offer from Bharat Cricket Academy in Siliguri, which has an indoor facility where I practised with the bowling machine. I am lucky that I got the place to practice as well as to work on my fitness,” a satisfied Ghosh revealed.
While speaking about playing with the international players in the Women’s T20 Challenge, especially with Deandra Dottin, Richa shared that she is looking forward to learning from her. Notably, the team will get the service of Salma Khatun, Sophie Ecclestone and Natthakan Chantham alongside Dottin as overseas players.
“I will try to interact normally so that we get along well. I have seen (Deandra) Dottin before but this will be the first time I am going to meet her. I will discuss my batting, weak points with her and also learn how to rectify them as well. And, whenever I will see a good shot there, I will try to learn from her as well,” an excited Richa revealed.
The tournament will take place between November 4 and 9 in Dubai and Sharjah is likely to host the games as well. While speaking about her preparation, Richa Ghosh gave the answer that might surprise many.
“Frankly speaking, I haven’t started thinking yet how I will play there (Dubai). We will have to undergo the mandatory quarantine period now and if I start thinking now, I will forget everything by the time the tournament will begin. I will start thinking after reaching Dubai,” cheekily replied the 17-year-old.
While many find the routine in bio-bubble quite boring, Richa Ghosh took it in a positive way. She came to Kolkata on 29th September as they had COVID tests on 30th for the Bengal camp. And, she is currently enjoying her time in the isolation.
“I do training in the morning and after that, I watch movies or reading books sometimes along with shadow practising. I think I wouldn’t face any issue with this routine as I followed a similar routine when I was at home during the lockdown. I wasn’t allowed to go outside at first and I started my batting practice and hit the gym in the last two months only,” expressed Richa.
Meanwhile, the tournament will witness another fresh new face from Chandigarh – Kashvee Gautam, who came in the limelight after her 10-wicket haul against Arunachal Pradesh in the U-19 One Day Tournament. She will play with Richa Ghosh in the Trailblazers squad.
“I have heard about Kashvee (Gautam) and her 10-wicket haul. I can’t recall whether I have played against her but I have seen her while doing the fitness together recently and she is good at it,” said the youngster.
However, after the mandatory isolation period in Mumbai and scheduled COVID tests, the players will fly to the UAE on October 21. There along with their overseas teammates, they will undergo another seven days of quarantine and three more COVID tests will take place before they start their training for the Women’s T20 Challenge, that kickstart on November 4.
Smriti Mandhana (C), Deepti Sharma (VC), Punam Raut, Richa Ghosh, D. Hemalatha, Nuzhat Parween (WK), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Harleen Deol, Jhulan Goswami, Simran Dil Bahadur, Salma Khatun, Sophie Ecclestone, Natthakan Chantham, Deandra Dottin, Kashvee Gautam