Mona Meshram feels like a celebrity post Women’s cricket World Cup success

Nagpur: Mona Meshram, the member of the Indian women’s cricket team that finished runner-up at the 2017 World Cup, said everybody recognizes her instantly now

Mona Meshram (second left) was part of the Indian cricket team at the 2017 Women’s cricket World Cup.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
It’s been more than two months since the Indian women’s cricket team finished runners-up in the World Cup in England but the excitement in middle-order batsman Mona Meshram’s voice while recalling her journey with the team, perhaps sums up how notable the achievement had been for the squad.

“Everyone recognizes us these days. Because of our games being shown live on television, we’ve got a lot of recognition, which is very important,” Meshram said over a telephonic conversation with Hindustan Times. Meshram had featured in three games in the World Cup.

Having debuted in 2012, it hasn’t been a smooth journey for Meshram though. She was dropped from the side quite a few times, including in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers. An injury to Smriti Mandhana, however, saw her earn a recall and the 26-year-old made full use of the opportunity as she smashed an unbeaten 78 against Bangladesh Women to help India qualify for the World Cup.

“What we did out there was unexpected. No one thought we would reach the final. It was sheer team effort and our determination that helped us,” Meshram added. “I guess God had been kind and I had been lucky. I didn’t deserve the chance given that I didn’t play to my potential in the previous games. But that injury to Smriti gave me a glimmer of hope and I didn’t want to waste it.”

Meshram’s short career has already been like a mini rollercoaster. After she was dropped from the national side in the early days, Meshram recalls how playing for the Railways was both a boon and bane for her career. “Most Indian players are part of the Railways squad, which makes it very difficult to break into the first XI. Thus, despite playing for a good side, lack of opportunities hurt my career. For almost a year I was used as a standby,” she said. “I then took an NOC and switched to Vidarbha Cricket Association. Those years were extremely difficult.”

But Meshram didn’t have to look to far to draw inspiration. “When you play well, you’ll find a lot of people beside you. And when you don’t you will find even a few close people maintain distance. But it was my mother who never gave up on me. From looking after the three (Meshram has a younger brother and sister) of us as the single earning member of the family to help us reach where we are today, only I know the struggles that she went through. I don’t look up to any cricketer as my idol. I look up to my mom.”

Meshram also admitted that in order to help her mother, she had even thought of hanging up her boots but her coaches, T Dilip and Satish Paradkar, helped her fall back in track. And Meshram doesn’t regret the choice either. “I have a number of personal goals but my ultimate aim is to lift the World Cup for India someday,” she concluded.

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