KOCHI: Three decades of cricketing nostalgia will come alive at LNCP Ground in the state capital on Sunday when former Kerala women cricket team players pad up again for friendly matches. Though most of them have quit sports and are busy with their jobs and family affairs, they are excited and keen on meeting their old teammates. “When the idea about the friendly matches was presented before the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), they offered full support. So far, we have received confirmation from 42 former players. Even those who have settled abroad with their families are coming for the reunion,” said Shabina Jacob, a former state team player, who is now serving as chairperson of the KCA’s Selection Committee for Women’s Cricket.
“The seniors will be playing T20 matches. The teams will be formed among players from 70s, 80s and 90s. These three teams will be set up only on Sunday morning after the players report at the venue,” Shabina said.“Though we played amid a lack of facilities, those days are sweet memories for all of us,” said Sunu Mathew, who was the second Malayali to find a place in the national team.
“Women cricket had no recognition then. There were instances when we had to travel for days in unreserved train coaches to take part in tournaments. We did not even get any support from our families. But, with the women’s team creating ripples of late, people have changed their attitude towards the women’s game. Now, the players are getting good support from the KCA as well as society. Around 30 years ago, cricket was an expensive affair and only those belonging to financially sound families could play the game. Now, with the KCA extending all support, talented players never lose the chance for want of money,” said Sunu, who later became a successful entrepreneur in the tourism sector.
According to Sunu, though age has weakened most of the former players physically, they are all excited about playing the game again. “When I shared this idea, one of the former players said she would definitely come and she wanted to play at least two overs,” Sunu said.
Former coaches of the state team will be honoured at the venue.