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World Cup-bound at just 16, Siliguri’s Richa Ghosh fulfils her father’s dream

A stellar outing in the recent women’s Challenger Trophy propelled the 16-year-old into the team led by Harmanpreet Kaur.

Published: 13th January 2020 10:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2020 10:53 AM   |  A+A-

16-year-old Richa Ghosh

16-year-old Richa Ghosh

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Siliguri is a small town in northern West Bengal. That’s where Wriddhiman Saha is fr­­­­om. On Sunday, one more cricketer from this city in the foothills of the Himalayas made it to the Indian team.
Meet Richa Ghosh, the latest teenager to enter the Indian women’s team. The batswo­man is part of a 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup starting in Australia on Februa­­ry 21. A stellar outing in the recent women’s Challenger Trophy propelled the 16-year-old into the team led by Harmanpreet Kaur.

“I’m happy to get this opportunity. Batting is my strength. I will try to contribute as much as I can,” said Richa, who was playing a local tournament in the outskirts of Kolkata when she got the news. Incidentally, she has a chance to emulate her idol Sachin Tendulkar, who made his international debut when he was 16. It was her father’s passion that drove Richa to cricket. Manabendra Gh­osh played club-level and tu­r­ned to umpiring after realising he would not make it as a player. He sowed interest in her by taking her to the grounds when she was just three. As she started showing promise, he put her in a coaching camp in Ko­­lkata.

It was a struggle for Manabendra. With two daughters — Richa’s elder sister is pursuing media science — and a bed-ridden mother, he gave up his business in 2016 to take better care of Richa’s cricket. Although ba­sed in Siliguri, he had to ma­ke frequent trips to Kolkata to see how his daughter was doing. “I had to give whatever time I had to her. I cannot open a business and shut it down temporarily when I was travelling. It takes 12-13 hours to reach Kolkata. If she is playing in any tournament in Kolkata, I quickly pack my bags. She is a small girl, we can’t leave her alone,” he said. At 11, Richa ma­de it to the U-19 Bengal team. Eventually, she broke in­to the U-23 side and also the se­nior team when she was 12 and-a-ha­lf. She was named Bengal cricketer of the year in 2018.

Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy.



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