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EXCLUSIVE: “I Will Try To Give My 100% Whenever I Get Opportunities” – Parshavi Chopra Shares Her Plan For WPL 2024

Young and talented Parshavi Chopra first made headlines as a talented 16-year-old spin bowling all-rounder in the maiden ICC Women’s U19 World Cup 2023 where she ended as the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 11 prized wickets. She was instrumental for the Indian team in winning the tournament.

Since then, her career has witnessed tremendous growth- most notably getting picked by the UP Warriorz for her base price of Rs. 10 Lakhs in 2023. In the WPL 2023, Parshavi Chopra was fourth on the list of most wickets taken by players aged 20 or below with three wickets and ended with an economy of 8.16. The first season only gave us a glimpse of the talent possessed by the youngster and this season we will get to see more from her.

In an exclusive chat with Neha Shetty from Women’s CricInsight, the youngster Parshavi Chopra shares her experiences, perspectives, learnings and strategies for the season ahead.

The 17-year-old started by saying, “Mai badhiya hu aur hamara camp 13th (February) se shuru ho gaya hai. Hamari preparation bhi ache se chal rahi hai aur jab international players aayenge toh aur maza aayega (translates to “I’m good and our camp has started. The preparation is also progressing well and waiting for the international players to join us, it will be more fun.”)

In her maiden season, Parshavi Chopra, fresh from the U19 World Cup impressed one and all with her composure and ability to bowl to top batters without getting rattled. In the subsequent domestic season where she had a remarkable run and reflecting on the same and how she is feeling cricket wise, she added, “Acha lag raha hai cricket wise aur Women’s Premier League (WPL) toh kaafi important hai toh mujhe ussi ka rehta hai. Baaki domestic bhi crucial hai kyunki yahaan kuch naye experiment kar sakte ho taaki aap WPL ke liye ready ho sakte ho (translates to “I’m feeling great cricket wise and the WPL is an important tournament so I am focussed on that. In domestic cricket, I can experiment with different aspects so as to be ready for the WPL which is good”).

For Parshavi, the ICC U19 Women’s World Cup was an absolute game-changer that propelled her to fame overnight. Her consistent performances coupled with a growth mindset helped her massively.

Looking back at the experience nostalgically, Parshavi Chopra said, “Mere liye memorable moments toh kaafi hai. Pehle jab mujhe ‘Player of the Match’ mila ta Sri Lanka ke khilaaf aur mere liye kaafi best moment tha. Jab aap India jersey mai hote ho aur woh presentation mai bahut acha lagta hai. Aur ek aur moment tha jab hum final mai jeet rahe the aur crowds itna support kar raha tha aur woh kaafi special tha. Sab emotional ho gaye the.”

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(translates to “there are a lot of memorable moments for me. The first one has to be when I won the ‘Player of the Match’ award in the Sri Lanka game and that was the best moment. Playing for India in the jersey is a whole different feeling. Another moment has to be when we went on to win the finals and we had the backing and support of the crowds, everyone in the team was emotional”).

Parshavi Chopra
Parshavi Chopra

“Shafali Verma is very supportive and she never lets the players around her get demotivated” – Parshavi Chopra

Echoing her sentiment of playing with Shafali Verma, her skipper and another India international Richa Ghosh while playing for the India U19 team, Parshavi Chopra fondly said, “Shafali didi toh kaafi supportive thi sab players ko leke aur kabhi demotivate nahi hone deti. Agar koyi player kabhi demotivate hota, kyunki humara pehla match toh South Africa ke khilaaf tha toh crowd toh pura home team ko hi support kar raha tha. Most of the players ne itne crowd ke saamne match nahi khela tha toh thoda bahut nervous the toh tab Shafali didi ne kaafi support diya tha. Richa didi bhi bahut supportive hai matlab batati hain agar ki tu yeh karegi toh definitely acha karegi toh kaafi supportive thi dono.

(Translates to “Shafali Verma is very supportive and she never lets the players around her get demotivated. In the game versus South Africa, the crowds were supporting the home team and it was the first time that the players were playing in front of such a big crowd and that’s when Shafali supported us a lot because a lot of us were nervous. Even Richa Ghosh is supportive and often suggests what will work and help produce the outcomes so definitely they have both been very supportive.”)

Looking at how the U19 World Cup that served as a launchpad for her career, she immediately catapulted to fame and in her maiden season for the WPL franchise, UP Warriorz where she bowled to the creme de la creme of world cricket and got the likes of Hayley Matthews, Ashleigh Gardner, to name a few out.

Shedding light on the same of playing tough batters she said, “Mera ground pe kaafi calm nature hota hai matlab aisa nahi hai ki mai aggressive banu idhar udhar baaki mind distract na hu. Mujhe lagta hai ki jo player calm hota hai wahi apna kaam ache se kar pata hai. Aggression hona chahiye par jab jo cheez ho uske baad hona hai and usse pehle mujhe bhi acha nahi lagta. Aur baaki mera mindset agar mai ball daalne jaungi aur nahi dekhti ki mere saamne kaun player hai kyunki agar woh dimaag mai bitha loge like Harmanreet Kaur hai, yeh toh badi player hai, toh dimaag mai aise thoughts aayenge kaafi ki yeh karu toh negative thoughts aayenge and aap apne aap ko bhul jaoge phir. Toh mere dimaag mai yeh nahi rehta ki batter kaun hai kyunki mujhe bas apna kaam karna hai.

(Translates to, “I have a very calm nature on the ground and being overtly aggressive has proven to be distracting for me. Only if a player is calm, can they do their job. Aggression should be there but only expressed after the job is done and not unnecessarily before. I also try not to read into who I am bowling to, be it Harmanpreet Kaur or any other star batter as that could put me in a negative mindset and I would end up forgetting myself and my performance.”)

In a short career, Parshavi has had the opportunity to run shoulders with big players and looking at the tough batters she has bowled to her mind was taken back to a tough encounter versus Mumbai Indians in the eliminator versus Mumbai Indians and she adds, “Haan matlab ek mera tough match tha woh WPL ke Semi Final mai jab Nat Sciver-Brunt ne mujhe attack kiya. Unhone kaafi mara tha, teen consecutive boundaries toh mujhe laga woh mujhe kaafi easily play kar rahi thi uss match mai”.

(Translates to, “Yes, I’ve had a tough match in the WPL Semi-Finals when Nat Sciver-Brunt struck me for consecutive boundaries. The way she was easily negotiating my spin and playing me in that match”).

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Her life post the WPL has not been the same. Not just fans acknowledge her but her game level has gone up manifold. Even women’s cricket touched greater heights financially and economically and personally talking on the same, Parshavi Chopra said,

“Pehle toh U19 World Cup nahi tha aur women’s ke zyada matches follow nahi hote the. Ab phir bhi U19 World Cup bhi matlab ab hum jeete hain tab sabko pata chala varna kisi ko nahi pata tha ki India jeeti hain ya finals mai hai. Woh toh hum World Cup jeete issliye most of the people jaan ne lage aur jab WPL hui toh mujhe aise laga jaise kaafi crowd tha pichli baar Mumbai mai aur stadium kaafi full tha toh sabko almost pata hoga ki kaun khel raha hai aur kaun nahi. WPL ek aise main tournament hai jis se player aage badtha hai aur usme acha kiya toh definitely aage badega apne career mai Indian team ke liye bhi toh idhar se mujhe lagta hai life change ho sakta hai U19 World Cup ke baad se aur WPL mai jab UP Warriorz ke liye kheli tab se.

(Translates to, “Earlier there weren’t tournaments like the U19 World Cup and not a lot of people followed the women’s matches. After winning the U19 World Cup and tasting success people got to know we won and acknowledged it. Even in the WPL, there were a lot of crowds thronging the stadiums at full capacity and everyone knew who was playing. The WPL is undoubtedly a tournament and stepping stone for players who aspire to play for the national team. For me playing well in the U19 World Cup brought me recognition and I got picked by the UP Warriorz and played for them”).

Playing for UP Warriorz under the guidance of Alyssa Healy and other overseas players, Parshavi Chopra describes the ecosystem as, “Hamara jo UP Warriorz ka staff aur players toh bahut supportive hai. Sabhi kaafi cool aur approachable hain aur players bhi ache hain. Meri zyadatar toh favourite Sophie Ecclestone hai kyunki woh support karti hain. Sab bahut ache hain aur pure team ka environment acha hi hota hai. Sab friendly hain aur nature bhi acha hai. Sophie ne yeh bola tha ki maine itne young player ko wrong un’ aur googly itne ache se daalte hue nahi dekha hai aur baaki jab mai bowling karti hu toh bahut appreciate and motivate karti hai toh woh cheez achi lagti hai.

(Translates to, “The staff and players here at UP Warriorz are supportive and they’re all approachable. I often interact with Sophie Ecclestone and she supports my growth a lot. Even, at large the team environment is conducive and everyone has a friendly nature. In fact, Sophie even remarked once that in her career so far she hasn’t seen a youngster bowl the Wrong Un’ or the Googly so well and she always appreciates and motivates me and I am so grateful for it”).

UP Warriorz ended third on the table in WPL 2023, performed reasonably well in the league stages and crashed out in the Eliminator. This season, with all the learnings and takeaways from the past season- they would be itching to make a comeback and go all the way.

Parshavi said, “Humara toh learnings yehi ki fielding mai improve karna hai kyunki usse kaafi runs bch sakte hain aur humara batting aur acha ho sakta hai. Players toh bahut ache hai hi already baaki hum koshish karenge ki iss baar WPL jeete. Alyssa Healy bahut support karti hain youngsters ko and acha lagta hai unke saath.

(Translates to, “Our learnings definitely will be on how to improve our fielding as we can save a lot of runs that way. We already have good players so the intent and motivation will be to win the WPL. We also have Alyssa Healy who supports and guides youngsters so it has been great with her so far”).

Reflecting on her goals and aspirations for the season, Parshavi Chopra said, “Mera yehi rahega kitna acha ho sake mai apna 100% du jab bhi mujhe mauka mile aur yehi rahega ki mai highest wicket-taker banu toh aage jaake acha hi hota rahe (translates to, “I will try to give my 100% whenever I get opportunities and try to end up as the highest wicket-taker, hopefully and good things will happen as we go ahead”). And for inspiration within her team she looks at Sophie Ecclestone and as a young bowler growing up, she idolises Shane Warne.

The transition for a lot of cricketers from age group cricket to mainstream cricket can come with its challenges and acknowledging the same, she wants to “keep it simple” and keep doing what she has been doing without complicating it. While playing in U19 cricket and the difference in senior level cricket, she said, “Baaki jo ab tak karti aa rahi hu wahi karu. Mujhe ab lagta hai ki U19 mai toh nahi hota ki aap batter according bowling karein aur itne expereienced batters nahi hote. Ab WPL mai, batter ke according hume pata chalta hai ki kaun kahaan zyada shots khelta hai toh uss hisaab se karna padta hai.

(Translates to “whatever I have been doing, I will continue doing that. I think in U19 cricket we don’t bowl according to the batter and there aren’t experienced batters but in WPL we know what type of batters they are, the type of shots and where they play them, so we bowl according to that”).

Commenting on the evolution of the women’s game nationally and internationally, Parshavi Chopra said, “Women’s cricket kaafi develop ho chuka hai kyunki jab se U19 World Cup hua tabse kaafi development hua hai. Kyunki 2023 mai U19 World Cup hua phir WPL hua. WPL ek aisa format hai ki agar aap domestic mai acha karo toh WPL mai bhi automatic selection ho jayega. Aur WPL se ek achi cheez hai ki agar yahan acha performance karo to phir India ke khelne ke chances hain. Ab toh Asia Cups bhi hone lage hain toh development bahut ho chua hai women’s cricket.”

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(Translates to, “Women’s cricket has developed because you see the tournaments like the U19 World Cup and then the WPL happened. Now, the WPL is a format where if you perform well in the domestic circuit, you will get selected for the WPL and then there is an automatic selection. And once you put in good performances in the WPL, chances of an India selection are possible. Even with Asia Cups, the development has been unparalleled.”)

“In life, there should be an aim and a motive” – Parshavi Chopra

Conveying a special message to the fans, she said, “Life mai ek aim hona chahiye, ek motive hona hai. Aapko apna 100% dena zaroori hai and usme consistent hona bahut zaroori hai. Ek cheez ke peeche pade ho toh usse achieve karna hai and usme poora consistent effort dena hai. Ups and downs toh sports mai toh khaas kar aate hi hain toh usme aap give up karoge toh phir koyi fayda nahi hai aur ulta down zyada and up kam hota hai. Toh uss cheez se nikalna important hai to be a sportsperson.

(Translates to, “In life, there should be an aim and there should be a motive. You should give your 100% and there is the need to be consistent as well. Chase one thing and to achieve that, put in your consistent efforts. There are a lot of ups and downs and in sports, it is specifically there. If you give up, then there’s no point to it and then there are more downs and you won’t be able to scale the highs then. It is important to get out of that mindset to be a successful sportsperson.”) 

All players, have aspirations of playing for India and Parshavi is no different, she said, “Agar WPL mai mauka mile aur ache performances ho toh chance hai ki khele and woh ho jaaye. (Translates to “If I get an opportunity to play, I will do well and put in good performances and hopefully the selection for India happens soon”) and Parshavi Chopra signed off.

On behalf of Women’s CricInsight, we wish Parshavi Chopra all the best for the upcoming season!

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