The sleepy girl who woke up a generation

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The sleepy girl who woke up a generation

Post by confuzzled dude on Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:28 pm

As an eight-year-old, Mithali loved to sleep in. To prevent such lazy habits from setting in, her father, Dorai Raj, a retired Air Force sergeant, dragged her along to her brother's cricket coaching sessions at St John's Academy in Secunderabad.

Mithali would sit by the boundary and finish her homework. Once she was finished, the restless girl would sometimes pick up a bat and hit a dozen balls along the ground as far as she could. Her casual hitting impressed the coach, Jyothi Prasad, a former first-class cricketer. Mithali's swift movements to drive the ball - a step forward before the bat came down in an arc - convinced him that she had potential.
Sampath saw Mithali bat and told her father, "I want the complete trust of you and your wife. I want blind support. I will make Mithali play for the country by the time she's 14." Dorai Raj was not convinced. "I told my wife he was bluffing. It seemed unrealistic."

Sampath's logic was to aim for the stars and hit the moon. If Mithali missed selection at 14, he felt she would make it by 16. "He didn't want to set the bar too low," explains Leela, Mithali's mother. "He didn't want her to get lost amid the academics maze, because back then there was either a career in engineering or medicine. Even if there were other options, our typical South Indian ideology didn't allow us to explore them."
So rigorous was her cricket coaching that Mithali, barely ten, had to make the difficult decision to give up Bharatnatyam. "Dance was my personal passion, but the level of cricket I had reached meant I had to understand my priorities," Mithali says. "My parents invested a lot more time in making me a cricketer than a dancer, so I had to choose cricket."

A normal childhood was out of the question, as her parents asked her to single-mindedly focus on the game.
http://www.thecricketmonthly.com/story/1041251/the-sleepy-girl-who-woke-up-a-generation

What an inspirational story. Kudos to Mithali and her parents.

confuzzled dude

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