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Women's Cricket

How Jemimah overcame the lowest phase of life to help India beat Pakistan at T20 World Cup

“There were so many points where I just wanted to give up. I did not have the strength to carry on," Jemimah said.

Jemimah Rodrigues

Jemimah Rodrigues (Source: ICC)


Abhijit Nair

Published: 12 Feb 2023 6:30 PM GMT

Jemimah Rodrigues, on Sunday, led India to seven-wicket win over arch-rivals Pakistan in their 2023 ICC Women's T20 World Cup opener at Capetown.

A dream innings, one would think. But things are never as rosy as it sounds.

Jemimah came into the World Cup after a tough few months. She was dropped from the Indian team for the 2022 Women's ODI World Cup. She went back to the drawing board and fought her way back to the women in blue.

But, the runs dried up once again. There were questions on her place in the team heading into the T20 World Cup in South Africa, but none of that mattered when the 22-year-old entered the field against Pakistan at Newlands Stadium.

"It was a tough few months, but I did not have anything to prove to anyone. I have done it in the past where I have been too focused on proving myself to people, but it has never worked out for me. I knew I made my way back into the team because of my good performances and that was it," said Jemimah in the post-match press conference.

The months following the axe from the 2022 World Cup squad were especially tough for Jemimah. Her close-knit circle, however, came to her rescue.

"There were so many points where I just wanted to give up. I did not have the strength to carry on. It was one of the lowest phase of my life. But, I am grateful to the people who believed in me – my parents, brother, coaches. I am a strong believer in Jesus. I knew he will not let me down," she said.

The Mumbai-lass also made an overhaul to her training regimen to make it back to the Indian team. She, in fact, went back and played at the famed Azad Madian along with boys to get back to the level she belonged at.

"I changed the way I practiced. I changed the way I approached and paced my innings. I went back to the drawing board and ensured that I never played on flat wickets. I was playing only on turning wickets," Jemimah revealed.

"I went back and played at Azad Maidan with boys. It turns square there in the second innings. I even played with some U14 boys. There was a lot of pressure, I mean what if I as an India player got out to them," she laughed.

Once she got back to the Indian team, Jemimah fell back on the team's batting coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar for crucial advice.

"Not getting the runs after getting back was not enjoyable. I was doing all the right things in the nets, gym. Hrishi sir (Kanitkar) said I was dedicated and I should keep doing what I was doing. That really helped. It was tough but I had to push myself," she said.

Jemimah's confidence got the much needed boost after she scored an unbeaten 42 against West Indies in a chase of 95 in the tri-series before the World Cup.

"I went and hugged Harmanpreet after scoring that 42 against West Indies and thanked her for backing me. She told me I am an important player and that I will play crucial knocks. This really gave me confidence," Jemimah stated.

Jemimah Rodrigues her Player of the Match Award against Pakistan to her parents, who watched her take India to victory from the stands.

"It is their (parents') first India versus Pakistan experience in stadium. This is a special knock in many ways," she said.

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