The first woman international cricketer from Kerala, Mini Mani says her India debut has inspired many girls in her state and expressed hope that many more will follow in her footsteps.
The off-spinner was speaking to budding cricketers during an off-season camp conducted by the Delhi Capitals men’s and women’s teams in the Delhi NCR region.
The camp, which was conducted under the watchful eyes of the franchise’s Director of Cricket Sourav Ganguly, consisted of nine players from each of the Delhi Capitals men’s and women’s teams.
Speaking on the sidelines of the camp, DC off-spinner Minnu Mani narrated the story of how she felt before making her India debut against Bangladesh in July.
The main junction in your hometown that you cross every day has now been re-named after you 🙌Achievement level unlocked ❤️💙
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) August 23, 2023
“I didn’t expect to play all matches in the T20I series. I couldn’t believe it when I was named in the eleven for the first game of the series. I was so excited to get the opportunity and it was great to receive my India cap from Smriti Mandhana,” she said.
Mani, who is part of the Indian squad for the upcoming Asian Games, further added, “I was slightly nervous when I started bowling. I got hit for a six and a four, and then Harmanpreet shared some thoughts with me. I felt comfortable on the field after the two hits (laughs).”
The off-spinner is the first woman from Kerala to play cricket for India. When asked about the special feat, Mani said, “My India debut will certainly inspire many girls in Kerala. I dreamt of becoming the first woman from Kerala to represent India and that dream has come true.”
However, the road to the Indian team hasn’t been easy.
Speaking about her journey, Mani said, “I practised cricket and carried out my studies in Kerala Cricket Association’s Cricket Academy from 9th grade until my graduation. But, after graduation, I had to cover a long distance to reach my training ground from my home. I was travelling three hours a day. and my family found it difficult to provide for my travel requirements as well. However, all the hard work has paid off now.”
The off-spinner also received a special gesture from her hometown — Wayanad following her India debut. Mani expressed that she feels proud to receive the gesture.
“Whenever I used to go for practice, I used to cross the main junction of our town. And now that junction is called Minnu Mani junction. I feel very proud and happy to see a junction named after me,” the off-spinner signed off.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – IANS)