Pooja Dhanda, Ritu Phogat debut in women’s cricket
World Championships bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda along with other women wrestlers from Pro Wrestling League (PWL) Season 4 took on the players from Women Cricket Association of India (WICA) in a friendly cricket match at Dev Samaj College for Women ground in Chandigarh. The match was graced by former Indian cricketer Reetinder Singh Sodhi who also stepped in to mentor and interacted with the wrestlers while giving tips about various techniques in cricket.
After watching Virat Kohli score a hundred in India’s win over Australia in the second ODI Down Under on TV, the female wrestlers of PWL-4 expressed their willingness to try their hands in cricket as it is the most popular game in India. And today, they really enjoyed every bit of it.
The entertainment-packed cricket extravaganza was full of fun for the wrestlers as they batted with aplomb sending the WICA bowlers to all corners of the park. The foreign wrestlers picked the threads of the game, much different from their own sport, pretty efficiently and gave the WICA team a run for their money. They showed that they can be a tough nut to crack not only in their own sport but in a different game if they put their mind to it. Though the PWL team lost the tie, they put up a challenging 71 in their stipulated 10 overs.
The PWL team besides Pooja, Pinki and Ritu Phogat also consisted of Olympians and European Champions like Andreya Carolina of Colombia, Zsanett Nemeth of Hungary, Bethzabeth Arguello of Venezuella, Shustova Anastasia of Ukraine and Katherina Zhydachivska of Romania.
The Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh, Ms Nilambari Jagdale, who was the chief guest on the occasion was introduced to members of each tem and the Super Cop after displaying her batting skills said: “I have been a sportswoman myself and I understand the importance of sports in a civilised society. Today we have one of the famous Phogat sisters, Ritu, among us I am extremely glad to see her and the other wrestlers try their hand in a sport which is very popular in our country and enjoy it.”
Ms. Rani Sharma, President, Women Cricket Association of India who was also present at the exhibition match expressed her willingness to support the quality of sports for women in India.
“Women in India are coming out stronger each passing day. They have become fearless and are out there fighting all the odds. Look at the women wrestlers; they are the perfect example of how to fight against stereotypes. I am really grateful of Pro Wrestling League for arranging an action packed cricket match. Everyone enjoyed the match and I was happy to come and enjoy the game myself along with these international stars,” said Ms. Sharma.
Pooja Dhanda, icon player of MP Yodha, also had a wonderful experience helping her foreign teammates with some valuable tips on cricket.
“Wrestling and cricket both require a lot of concentration and hard work. Playing with the fellow women wrestlers was quite a fun thing. Each one of us enjoyed the game. This only helped us connect better and develop our friendship. There is a long way to go in the league and such kind of activities will make us feel good,” added Pooja.