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Women's Cricket

A father's sacrifice: Mamatha Madiwala's path to cricket stardom

In a tale of unwavering support and sacrifice, India 'A' cricketer Mamatha Madiwala's father uprooted their lives to nurture her cricketing talent.

A fathers sacrifice: Mamatha Madiwalas path to cricket stardom

Mamatha with her parents


Krithika Venkatesan

Updated: 25 Jun 2023 10:59 AM GMT

In the quaint streets of the small town of Gulbarga, a young girl named Mamatha Madiwala found solace in the echoes of gully cricket. Her eyes would gleam with joy as she wielded the bat, effortlessly sending the ball soaring into the air. Little did she know that those humble beginnings would pave the way for an extraordinary journey.

Madiwala, a 20-year-old wicketkeeper by trade, was part of India 'A' side which emerged as champions of the Emerging Asia Cup by beating Bangladesh in the final on Wednesday.

A father's sacrifice

Back in the day, Mamatha's innate talent did not go unnoticed by her doting father, Veeresh Madiwala. With an unwavering belief in her abilities, he made a momentous decision. Leaving behind his steady job in a computer hardware company, Veeresh packed their belongings and relocated the whole family to Hyderabad, a city teeming with opportunities.

"If I'm at work, it was her mother who took her to practice. She used to wait outside until her session was over and then bring her back home," Veeresh recalls.

Mamatha Madiwala with her father

Mamatha's mother Bhagya worked as a domestic helper in some houses in the first few years in the big city.

She becomes emotional while discussing her daughter's journey. "When Mamatha was young, I had doubts and even scolded her for playing street cricket, but her father stood by her side. He even left his job and relocated to ensure he could support our daughter's practice sessions."

Dedication to gully cricket is one thing, but pursuing the sport seriously comes with its own set of pitfalls.

"She used to write things like 'cricket is everything' and 'cricket is my passion' on our walls. When I saw her play, I felt she was talented. I spotted an advertisement for a nearby cricket academy and called them. Unfortunately, they weren't accepting girls and directed us to the Association ground," he explains.

A Meeting That Changed Everything

At the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) ground, destiny unveiled its hand. Veeresh had the fortune of encountering Nooshin Al Khadeer, a former Indian cricketer and renowned coach who was with India 'A' team in Hong Kong this week. Intrigued by Mamatha's potential, Nooshin recognized her unique attributes.

"Nooshin ma'am has played a major role in Mamatha's career. She was the one who recommended her to become a wicket-keeper due to her height," Veeresh adds.

As the years passed, Mamatha's talent blossomed. Her performances on the field caught the attention of selectors, and she earned a place in the U16 Hyderabad team.

Mamatha Madiwala with V Chamundeswaranath

When Mamatha got into the junior team, it was former ACA secretary V Chamundeswaranath who helped her out financially. He has played a pivotal role in Mamatha's career.

"Chamundi sir (Chamundeswaranth) is like a god to us. He has been helping Mamatha with her training and also financially for past 3-4 years. We are grateful for everything. Mamatha is blessed to have met him at the right time. We cannot thank him enough," Mamatha's father says.

With every match, her skills grew sharper, leaving spectators in awe of her batting prowess. Mamatha's consistent displays of excellence propelled her into the esteemed National Cricket Academy camp, where she further honed her craft.

"She is a dedicated cricketer. Even after returning from practice, she used to continue drills at home. At times, she would even practice late at night. We firmly believe that she will make it to the Indian senior team someday," says Mamatha's mother.

The support system

Parental encouragement is known to be essential in fostering their children's dreams, but this is a rare instance of a couple going above and beyond to make their daughter a cricketer.

"As parents, we must assist our kids in pursuing their dreams. Unfortunately, some parents still hold the misconception that sports are not for women. They need to overcome this mindset and support their children unconditionally. Sports is for everyone, and our girls' teams are equally capable of making us proud," says Mamatha's father.

"We are prepared to do whatever it takes to support her in achieving that dream," adds Bhagya.

In 2022, Mamatha's exceptional wicket-keeping skills gained widespread attention when a video of her taking a diving catch to dismiss Smriti Mandhana in the Senior T20 Trophy went viral.

"She admires Smriti Mandhana and aspires to play attacking cricket like her. It was a special moment for Mamatha. Later that day, she even got the opportunity to interact with Smriti. I'm confident that Mamatha will soon share the dressing room with her idol," Mamatha's father expresses unwavering hope.

Mamatha Madiwala with Smriti Mandhana

Against All Odds

Mamatha did not find a spot in the historic Women's Premier League (WPL) earlier this year, but news of her call-up to the Shweta Sehrawat-led India A squad for the Emerging Asia Cup tournament this month was a sweet reward for all the sacrifices the family made through the years.

News of her call-up reverberated through the narrow lanes in Hyderabad the family had shifted to from the wide expanse of open spaces in Gulbarga, filling the hearts of Mamatha's family and neighbors with immeasurable pride. From the dusty lanes of gully cricket to the grand stage of international competition, Mamatha's indomitable spirit has prevailed.

"Our phones did not stop ringing," says Mamatha's proud father Veeresh. "This is the result of her hard work. Even our neighbors are very proud of her and are excited to watch her play for the country."

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