Hurley Gala, 16-year-old WPL prodigy, wants to be world’s fastest bowler
One of the youngest players in the Women’s Premier League, Adani Gujarat Giants all-rounder Hurley Gala wants to be the first woman to break the 130kph speed barrier.
There were four fast bowlers in the U19 Women’s World Cup-winning Indian side last month. Three of them were part of the actual matches. The fourth, 16-year-old Hurley Gala, had to fly back home midway through the tournament with an injury.
Though she never made it into the playing XI, she was seen practising her batting after India beat South Africa in their opening match of the World Cup. She did not know then a World Cup debut would remain out of her reach and that she would be handed a flight ticket back home instead.
“I was very disappointed for around two weeks. After all, I had given it my all to prepare for the U19 World Cup. I knew I had to be strong and keep training,” Hurley told The Bridge a week ahead of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL).
“There were no discussions about the WPL within the U19 squad but we all know the WPL provides a great chance for younger players like us,” she said.
Fast bowling has been a rare art within Indian women’s cricket, but Hurley is part of a group of young pacers who are rapidly rising through the ranks. Hurley, S Yashasree, Falak Naz, Titas Sadhu, Shabnam MD are all teenagers who have shown immense promise.
For Hurley, one of the youngest of this lot, fast bowling came naturally to her because she was a runner and a skater - two disciplines which have similarities with with her art.
“I love to bowl fast. I am practising hard to become the world’s fastest bowler. I want to be the first Indian to break the 130 kph mark,” she said.
A Mumbai-based cricketer who has been training under Jemimah Rodrigues’s father for the last four years and plays under Jemimah in domestic cricket, the Gujarati-origin Hurley thinks it is ‘interesting’ that she will be playing for Adani Gujarat Giants in Mumbai over the 23-day period of the WPL.
She lives in a Gujarati joint family in Mumbai, and is sure there will be some traditional celebrations at home during the league. Her father is an internet and cable service provider, but when the WPL starts on March 4, one can be sure the cable provider will have his eyes stuck to the screen to see his daughter play alongside the greatest cricketers in the world.
Like several Mumbai prodigies of the past, Hurley made her domestic debut at the age of 14 two years ago. She took Deepti Sharma’s wicket in her first T20 and followed it up with Shafali Verma’s wicket in her second. Those two remain her favourite wickets so far.
Looking ahead to the role she can play in the WPL, Hurley also highlighted two recent performances.
“When Mumbai’s U19 match vs Jharkhand was reduced to a 6-over match because of rain, I was promoted to bat as an opener. I scored a 22-ball 45 and took 3 wickets as we qualified for the quarterfinals. Then against Rajasthan, I scored 45 and took four wickets."
Fast bowlers who can bat are worth their weight in gold in Indian cricket. The 10L INR salary she will be getting in the WPL is the biggest pay cheque in Hurley's career so far, but it can be guaranteed her stocks will only go higher from here.