U19 Women's T20 World Cup champ Soumya Tiwari's household erupts in joy

Before leaving for the World Cup, Soumya had promised her mother that she will win the World Cup.

Published: 30th January 2023 03:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th January 2023 03:26 PM   |  A+A-

Cricketer Soumya Tiwari

Soumya Tiwari's knocks helped India lift the inaugural U19 Women's T20 World Cup title.

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Soumya Tiwari’s house is still abuzz with activities after all the attention she had received since Sunday. Her family members are still pinching themselves to see if it is a dream or if Soumya has actually won a World Cup with the India team. Less than 24 hours ago, she hit the winning runs in the final against England U19 to help India win their first-ever ICC trophy.

“It felt like we all got a new life yesterday. Everyone is still thinking this to be a dream, sometimes wondering if it is a reality or just a dream. Because of the news flooding social media and the newspapers covering it, the reality is finally sinking in,” says an elated Sakshi Tiwari, Soumya’s sister, from Bhopal.

Before leaving for the World Cup, Soumya had promised her mother that she will win the World Cup. And late on Sunday night, after doing exactly that, the teenager called her family, showing her World Cup medal, trophy and the Kala Chashma Instagram dance reel she and her team made for the ICC social media platforms.

For her, the 'biggest wish' came from her idol — Virat Kohli. As someone who was often seen emulating the former men’s India skipper — she also wears the same jersey No. 18 — a tweet for the Indian team after winning the title meant the world to Soumya. After all, 15 years ago, Kohli won the U19 World Cup with the Indian team. Sharing a screenshot of Kohli’s tweet on Instagram, an excited Soumya wrote, ‘Is this for real? What else could ask for after the World Cup.’

“She is a hardcore Kohli fan. Even when she spoke yesterday, she was like, 'Mamma, when I meet Virat Kohli, I hope I don’t faint'. Representing India and meeting Kohli is her long-time dream. From her childhood, she is watching him, she is still a child, but it all feels unreal,” Sakshi said. 

But that is not all. Behind the fun-loving, happy-go-lucky teenager is a serious athlete who takes every bit of her cricket very seriously. And when Soumya listened to former India captain Mithali Raj speak at the National Cricket Academy during one of the camps in 2022, something changed in her forever. Mithali spoke about how she maintains a journal and takes note of every match, and every condition she has played in so that she could read out loud why she was having a good time when things aren’t going her way. And that struck a chord with Soumya.

Since then, Soumya too religiously has maintained a journal. And once she started doing it, she fell in love with that process. While she does not record detail that transires in a day, she notes down every single thing she does on the cricket field — whether it is how she felt while middling a ball or when a good delivery left her hand, it was all recorded. And after every match she spends hours watching her footage, analysing her own game and seeing what she can improve.

The same goes for her fielding. When she lit up the World Cup with some exemplary catches and run-outs, it came as no surprise, for it is something she works on every single day. “Whenever I am on the field, my approach is very aggressive. I want to get two-three run outs for the team or take one or two extraordinary catches every match,” Soumya had told The New Indian Express in an interaction earlier. 

It is her thirst for excellence in combination with her aggression that makes her the player she is. That is what helps her keep calm under pressure. Whether it is the unbeaten 15-ball 28 against Sri Lanka or the 24 not out she scored in the all-important final on Sunday, she does not succumb under pressure, in fact, she thrives. “It the temperament that makes her stand out. The way she batted in the final under pressure, she has made us all proud,” said Suresh Chenai, her childhood coach from Bhopal

While the celebrations are still ongoing at Soumya’s house in Bhopal, Sakshi said that without the 17-year-old there at home, it all feels incomplete. “People are congratulating and everything, but we are all just waiting for her to come home so that we can celebrate with her,” said Sakshi. 

As they continue to celebrate, Soumya is likely to take a detour to Ahmedabad for the BCCI celebratory event of the victory before joining her family. But once she does, the celebrations and party are only going to be bigger. 


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