CHENNAI: Poonam Yadav could be dismissed as a young girl on the field. All of four-foot-eleven, she is not among the taller members of the squad. Playing against Australians, with an average height over five-foot-six, only made her look smaller. However clichéd it may sound, looks are deceptive. The Aussies learnt the hard way in the first World T20 match in Sydney on Friday.
Plundering runs with elan, the hosts were expected to overhaul India’s modest target of 133 in no time. Not until Poonam stepped in with her lazy loopy leg-spinners, turning either way without fuss. Her staggering figure of 4/19 helped India win by 17 runs. What more, she was even on a hat-trick.
Miles away in Agra, Poonam’s childhood coach Manoj Singh was glued to the TV set following her each move. He still recollects how she turned her disadvantage into a weapon. "Many people might think that short height has its own disadvantages and some might even consider it as a weakness," said Singh from Agra. “But not Poonam. She turned it into her strength. When you are of that height, you need to provide a good flight to make the ball travel. That (flight) has become her weapon now. Today (Friday) when she bowled those wrong'uns, Australian batters couldn't read it."
The leg-spinner used her weapon, googly, judiciously and bamboozled the defending champions. Though she was introduced into the attack after nine overs, the 24 deliveries that she bowled were enough for India. From 67/2, Australia lost a flurry of wickets to eventually bundle out for 115.