There are winners and there are losers. Being the competitive and egocentric creatures that we are, can’t help but always compete with each other even over the smallest things. Competing over petty things is not of importance, but there are times when you need to compete and more importantly, need to win.
We feel very proud today to have with us someone from the Indian Women Squad who represented India in the Women’s World Cup 2017. Devika Purnendu Vaidya (born August 13, 1997 in Pune, Maharashtra) is an Indian cricketer. She plays for Maharashtra in domestic matches. She was selected for South Africa’s tour of Indian team in 2014 and made WT20 debut at Bangalore on November 30, 2014. She was also named M A Chidambaram for best women junior cricketer in 2014-2015. As a kid she was into both cricket and Taekwondo. She won a black belt for her state as well.
1.) How did you get interested in playing cricket ? When did you fell in love with it?
My family members always watched most of the cricket matches shown on TV. When I saw the retirement ceremony of Steve Waugh in early 2004 and got a feeling within me that I should become like him. That’s when I told my parents that I wanted to learn cricket. that day I actually realized, I want to make my career in cricket only and will do anything for it.
2.) At what age did you start playing cricket? How did you manage your Taekwondo classes and studies along with this?
I started playing cricket when I was 7 years old. I used to go for Taekwondo classes for 4 days a week and go for cricket for 3 days . Since I was competing in Taekwondo fight competitions, I also used to go for running and CROSS-FIT exercises with my Taekwondo coach at 6 a.m in the morning before going to school at 7:15. It was indeed a tough call for me but I did it as I was very determined to achieve my goal and was well supported by my family.
3.) Cricket is a rarely chosen field by most women, when did you decide that you have to take cricket as your professional career?
In 2009, I got selected for my state under 19 team that’s when I decided to take cricket seriously. I decided to stop competing in fight competitions to avoid injuries .Though I continued my Taekwondo training for obtaining higher belts. I now hold 2nd degree Black belt. I don’t understand why Cricket, Taekwondo and other sports related fields are so looked down upon by people in India for women, why is that people don’t want women to excel in this field? It doesn’t make us any less feminine or more of a man, then why are people so scared and hestitant for this?
4.) Who were your mentors and biggest support in this journey so far?
My mentors have been my two coaches. Mr Atul Gaikwad my first coach who put in a lot of efforts in getting my game basics right and preparing me for competitive cricket. My current coach Mr Niranjan Godbole has developed my game further and help me develop match temperament, besides his coaching methods are very specific and target oriented. Besides, my cricket coaches, my fitness coach Mr Vishwas Walawalkar has worked a lot on me to improve my fitness levels to international standards. My Taekwondo coach will always hold a special place in my heart as he has brought in me a focus and discipline at very young age. My family members have given me unconditional support, also my State association, has supported me by giving me chance to represent the state team from a very young age. BCCI has also supported us by organizing professional camps at the NCA.
5.) What were the constant practices and targets required to perfect your game?
At various stages various practice requirements exists. Last year when I was aware that I may get a chance in the Indian women’s one day team, I knew that I may be required to bat at number 5 or 6, if I was in the team. So, I started practicing accordingly and also went to bat in those positions for my State team. You actually have to understand the game really well and then play your own game otherwise it’s all a waste of time and energy. Not very people get the chance to play for Indian Cricket Team at such a young age and I always have tried to prove my worth for this given opportunity.
6.) What has been the most encouraging factor that sets you high to put your best in the game?
I have seen my family members achieve success in life in their chosen field by hard work and dedication. hence this gives me the motivation to put in more efforts in my chosen field. Also , seeing players like Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami still put in so much efforts in their game is very encouraging. We youngsters are lucky to play alongside them. Actually the efforts put during the practice and fitness sessions helps me to have the confidence. We practice in such a way that it actually doesn’t make much difference for me that I am playing in a match.
Also playing matches alongside boys in club matches helps me improve my match situation awareness.
7.) What according to you is the most important factor one should keep in mind to keep going on the journey towards their goals?
Smart work is more important than Hard work. We have to work both on our strong points and also on weakness. We need to be patient as sometimes to get into the team may take a bit longer than expected. Also it is important to have some other interests in life other than your chosen field otherwise the profession can become a burden.
8.) What is your dream? Your future goals in particular?
I wish to continue in representing India as long as possible. Fitness training is a thing very close to my heart and I will surely continue it even when I stop playing competitive cricket. As a sportsperson career usually finishes by the age of 30 -35 years. I hope I will be able to pursue something other than cricket at that time.
9.) What’s your message to the young generation especially girls who love sports ?
Enjoy the game without putting too much stress on selections etc, specially at young age otherwise the sport can become a burden when the person reaches a competitive age of about 20-22. Practice hard and put in efforts in fitness training. Enjoy the game and don’t take too much pressure and always stay upfront in everything you do. Develop your own playing strategy and take the criticism from people in a very positive manner.
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