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Women's Cricket

My career could have stagnated without WPL: UP Warriorz pacer S Yashasri

19-year-old S Yashasri, one of the fastest young pacers in the country, did not even watch the WPL auction because she had no hopes of being picked.

My career could have stagnated without WPL: UP Warriorz pacer S Yashasri

S Yashasri was acquired for her base price of INR 10 lakh by UP Warriorz


Dipankar Lahiri

Published: 23 Feb 2023 11:08 AM GMT

S Yashasri had been so sure that the Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction day would bring her no joy that she went to sleep in the afternoon.

It was a historic day for women’s cricket as the hammer started raining down on the auction table at 2:30 pm on February 13. The first step towards India becoming the international headquarters for women’s cricket was being taken. But Yashasri, the 19-year-old pace bowler from Hyderabad, did not think it was a day that bore much relevance to her.

“I saw the auction for around an hour and then I went to sleep, as I had a gym session in the evening at 5 pm. I was not nervous at all, as I didn’t expect to get picked. Later in the evening, when I was at the gym, my mother called me to say UP Warriorz had picked me. I didn’t know how to react as it was a public place,” Yashasri said.

An U19 World Cup medallist and a member of the WPL team led by Alyssa Healy, Yashasri’s life has changed dramatically in the last few months.

Till late last year, the youngster was wondering where her path would lead her. It was clear that she had a lot of potential when she broke into the senior Hyderabad side in domestic cricket two years ago and made a name for herself as one of the fastest bowlers in the age-group circuit, but she often wondered if that was to be the end of her story.

“My journey was quite smooth, but it wasn’t a cakewalk, there were plenty of moments of doubt. Hyderabad had given me plenty of opportunities, but I feared that my career could become stagnant, that I could remain stuck in domestic cricket,” she said.

Even though she could feel her skills improving, she could not make the jump to the next level - perhaps because there were not enough levels to progress through.

READ | From photo with Virat Kohli to playing for RCB — Shreyanka Patil

Getting called up to the NCA camp in Bengaluru, being part of the U19 Indian team felt like some breakthroughs. But her biggest breakthrough yet has to be being acquired by a WPL team where she will play alongside the likes of Healy, Deepti Sharma, Sophie Ecclestone and Shabnim Ismail.

“I didn’t expect I would get to this stage this early in my career,” said the 19-year-old.

“I used to idolise Umesh Yadav in my earlier years, later I started emulating Hardik Pandya and Ben Stokes. There’s a lot more cricket that I need to learn from the likes of Shabnim Ismail. I look forward to learning how their minds work, how they keep their mental stability after getting hit for a few runs,” she said.

Yashasri’s journey into professional cricket started when she was picked into her school team as they were a player short. Because of her height, her coaches suggested that she try fast bowling. Now, one of the hottest young properties in Indian women’s cricket because of her unique skill set, Yashasri has words of thanks for her parents for never stopping believing in her dreams.

“There wasn’t one day when my parents stopped pushing me. Nobody expects a girl in India to follow a path of playing cricket seriously, but I was lucky I had my parents. I paid very little attention to studies, I only went to give exams, but they remained supportive of me at every step,” she said.

Yashasri will have her U19 WC teammates Shweta Sehrawat and Parshavi Chopra along with her in the UP Warriorz dressing room, while her teammates Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh, Titas Sadhu, Hurley Gala, Sonam Yadav and fellow Hyderabad native Shabnam Shakil will also be part of the league, starting from March 4.

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