Steni Simon/ July 4
Minnu Mani, a 24 year-old from Mananthavady in Kerala’s Wayanad district is on cloud nine. She has finally achieved her dream of getting a place in the Indian Women’s cricket team and will be playing the three-match Twenty20 International (T20) series on the Bangladesh tour. which starts from July 9 in Mirpur. With this feat, Minnu has also become the first women cricketer from Kerala to represent the country.
It hasn’t been a smooth journey to achieve this feat but Minnu says, “ You can achieve anything if you have the self motivation to do it.” She further says, “ From my childhood days, I was fascinated by cricket and loved playing the game. However, my parents, who are farm labourers, weren’t too happy about me playing cricket which they thought was a ‘boys’ game and criticised me.”
But, Minnu wasn’t discouraged and began playing in the paddy fields in her village. She joined Mananthavady Government Vocational Higher Secondary School in 2011 where her physical education teacher, Elsamma Baby recognised her talent and enlightened her about the women’s cricket team.
Despite the financial challenges, Minnu left no stone unturned to excel in cricket and started with her training sessions. She was introduced to the Wayanad district cricket association and soon was selected for a training programme at the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) academy in Thodupuzha after her impressive performance in Kollam in 2013. “ For the first time, I played for the state in 2015 and from then there has been no stopping. Seeing my achievements, my parents also accepted my passion for cricket and started supporting me,” shares the left-hand batter and right-arm off-spinner.
Speaking about her training, she says, “ Travelling from my house to the state cricket association’s stadium in Krishnagiri for training was another challenge that I faced. It took almost one and a half hours for me daily to reach the stadium where I trained for at least 3 to 4 hours.”
Minnu has also played for India ‘A’ against Bangladesh and also represented the national team in the Emerging Women’s Asia Cup tournament in 2019. Recently, she also became the only player from Kerala to get picked in the inaugural Women’s Premier League auction 2023.
After successfully achieving her dream of becoming a part of the Indian Women’s cricket team, she now aims to perform well in the series against Bangladesh and make her place permanent. “ However, my ultimate aim is to play in the World Cup,” signs off Minnu.