CHANDIGARH: Often in the news for patriarchy, Haryana and Punjab will be proud of its three daughters who will be carrying the hopes of millions when India clash with Australia in the Women’s T20 World Cup final on Sunday. Arjuna awardee Harmanpreet Kaur will lead Team India which has two other cricketers — wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia and opener Shafali Verma — from the two states. One of most destructive women batters, Kaur made her ODI debut at the age of 20 and that too against archrivals Pakistan in March 2009.
Considered a game-changer, Kaur aka Jhanavi Kaur Bhullar from Punjab’s Moga, will be leading the team in the final on March 8 — the International Women’s Day. Her teammates are praying that her destructive batting come alive to win the summit clash on her birthday as well! A win will definitely allow the India skipper to savour glory with her father, who is also her first coach, indulge in her Sony’s PlayStation, and shake her leg to Punjabi numbers. In a spin heavy squad, Taniya holds her own place due to her glovework. Her father Sanjay Bhatia, who works with Central Bank of India, was a wicket-keeper and was a reserve player for Punjab Her uncle was also a wicketkeeper, and so is her brother Sehaj who plays for Punjab U-19 team.
“At the age of seven, we discovered her potential and got her enrolled at a cricket academy. There has been no looking back since then. After a few month, we shifted her to DAV Senior Secondary School in Sector 8 where she trained by none other than Yuvraj Singh’s father Yograj Singh,’’ says a proud Sanjay. Taniya was selected in India A team at 16, and became the first woman cricketer from Chandigarh to enter the national team. “I have always told her to focus and bring India on the top.
She can be the captain like MS Dhoni if she performs well,’’ Sanjay says. Rohtak’s Shafali, the youngest in her team, has been a revelation. The 16-year-old tomboyish opener has bludgeoned bowlers to all corners of the stadium. “Four year ago, she came to our academy. We are the only academy in Rohtak which trains girls. In 2018-19, Shafali played against Under- 19 boys when she was just 14. She was selected in the both juniors and seniors team by the Haryana Cricket Association. She proved her mettle in Ranji trophy as well,’’ says her coach Ashwini Sharma. The coach will be hoping his ward delivers again, this time in the T20 final.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appointed Harman a deputy superintendent in the Punjab Police.