Unless I wear the Team India tee, not many recognise me: Jemimah Rodrigues
At the age of just 12, her talent saw Jemimah Rodrigues making her under-19 debut for Mumbai. And a few years later, she started captaining the Mumbai senior team as a teenager. Jemimah hasn’t looked back after that, breaking one record after the other in domestic cricket to make national selectors sit up and take notice. She became a part of the Indian Team (both in ODIs and T20Is). Ever since, it has been a roller-coaster ride for Jemimah, but she has established herself as one of Team India’s most reliable batswomen in the shorter formats of the game. Recently, she also had a memorable outing for the Yorkshire Diamonds in the Women’s Cricket Super League in England, where she finished second among the leading run-scorers. In Gujarat to play against South Africa in T20Is (at Surat) and ODIs (at Vadodara), Jemimah spoke to us on life after her India selection, what staying in England on her own taught her and more. Excerpts:
‘IT’S FUN TO BE IN GUJARAT’I have always enjoyed playing in Gujarat. In Surat, it was fun to play in front of big crowds, and I am glad that we could beat South Africa convincingly in both the series. It has really boosted my confidence as a player. At the team hotel, I also tried out Gujarati thali. While I am not a fan of vegetarian food, I really loved it. I also have a couple of good friends in the Baroda team (Radha Yadav, her teammate in the Indian T20I team, and Yastika Bhatia). On this trip, I couldn’t meet Yastika, as she was away playing for India A.
‘TOUGH TIMES MOTIVATE ME’
It has been over a year since I made my debut for India, and I have realised that the journey is never easy in international cricket. There have been ups and downs but today, when I look back, I am grateful for the tough times. Those low phases taught me a lot, and motivated me to work harder on my fitness and batting.
‘STAYING ALONE IN ENGLAND MADE ME MUCH STRONGER’
Travelling alone to England and then staying there for the Women’s Cricket Super League was a lifechanging experience. I had to plan my practice sessions on my own, and I also did my own laundry and cooked my own food. It wasn’t easy but at the end of it, I emerged as a stronger person.
‘PEOPLE STILL DON’T RECOGNISE ME INSTANTLY’
Unless I am wearing the Team India t-shirt, not many people recognise me instantly even now. But things are now changing and the following for women’s cricket has grown immensely. Another great development is that women’s T20 cricket has been made a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. And winning medals at a global event like CWG will be an unbelievable feeling. We really want to make it happen.
‘CAN’T SIT QUIETLY IN THE DRESSING ROOM’
I am someone who can’t sit quietly in the dressing room, and we have a lot of fun. And the seniors in the team have always been very approachable. I love dancing whenever I want to celebrate, and playing the guitar is my biggest stress buster.
‘IT’S NEVER EASY TO BALANCE CRICKET AND STUDIES’
Right now, I am in my second year of B.Com and due to all the travelling, I don’t get a lot of time to focus on studies. I still remember how I had a gruelling schedule just before my class 10 board exams. Before the exams, I got about six days to study properly, and hardly slept for three hours daily during that phase. I managed to score good marks.