Cricket

I had the best of both worlds: Isa Guha

Isa Guha. File Photo   | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath_Kumar.

Isa Guha is a familiar face to those who lap up the Indian Premier League on television. Recently, she was part of the Star Sports commentary team at Lord’s. But there is more to her than her anchoring stints.

Here in England, she is a respected former woman cricketer and thanks to her Bengali roots, is also a symbol for the thriving Brit-Asian community.

The fast bowler played eight Tests (29 wickets) and 83 ODIs (101) besides 22 Twenty20 internationals, and was a member of the England team that won the ‘Ashes’ in 2005, the Women’s World Cup and World Twenty20 in 2009.

Her race wasn’t an issue at all for Guha as she climbed the cricketing ladder. “I wasn’t treated different to anyone else, I just performed on the pitch and that helped my selection for the ‘Development England’ side at the age of 13 and I had no extra boundaries just because I was Asian,” she said.

Elaborating on her growth, Guha said: “Hard work, determination and being at the right place at the right time. There was a real shortage of bowlers and I got into the side pretty quickly at the age of 17. I worked hard on my bowling, my batting and my fielding so that I had the edge. One of my heroes growing up was Darren Gough, he always made things happen and I wanted to be like him.”

Balancing act

She balanced cricket with academics, a trait Guha continues even now while pursuing a doctorate in neuroscience. “My parents were proud of the fact that I was playing cricket, they used to ferry me around during the weekends to play the game. I did well in studies too (bio-chemistry) and I had the best of both worlds,” said Guha, who rated the 2009 World Cup victory as special.

“At a personal level, doing well in the Ashes and winning it was a high,” she added.

Guha, however, retired at 27. “Too many reasons, I was in a good place in my head. At the end of the day, I was fortunate I achieved a lot with this team. There was a real commitment to stay fit and I decided to move on,” she explained.

Having seamlessly moved into the media space, Guha is grateful to the IPL. “It is so much fun and I enjoyed being there in India. I could meet so many great cricketers and now I am probably the first woman to do commentary in STAR Sports. I am lucky,” Guha said.

Incidentally, she retired from the game on the same day as Rahul Dravid — “March 9, 2012” — with whom she felt privileged to share the microphone during the Lord’s Test.


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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 3:03:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/i-had-the-best-of-both-worlds-isa-guha/article6246227.ece

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