The wait had been long for S. Meghana. More than five years, actually.
She was 20 when she made her India debut. After playing seven T20I matches in late 2016, she was dropped.
She was upset that she could not even make the domestic one-day team for two years. There were times when she thought of quitting. But her father, who introduced her to cricket, gave the moral support she badly needed. She was so depressed that she did not even want to touch the bat for two or three weeks.
Those bad days are behind Meghana. Not only has she earned her place back in India’s T20I team, she also made her WODI debut.
The stroke-player from Andhra has done rather well on her return to international cricket. She celebrated her recall to the T20 eleven by making 37 against New Zealand at Queenstown last February. She followed it up with scores of 49 and 61 in the ODI series.
She could not have timed her comeback better, with the Women’s IPL set to take off. “I think the Women’s IPL will change the game in India,” Meghana, who is playing for India-C in the Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy tournament, tells The Hindu. “It will make the transition to the international game for the domestic cricketer easier. Look what the IPL has done to the men’s game and the cricketers.”
Looking back at her time in the wilderness, the 26-year-old says she was backed by her coaches V. Chamundeswaranath and Krishna Rao and former India captain and run-machine Mithali Raj. Since she had been scoring heavily in domestic cricket, she knew she could force her way back into the national team.
“Indian cricket has become more competitive since I made my debut, and my batting has improved too, as I have learned to overcome things like dot-ball pressure,” says the woman who admires Meg Lanning, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.
“I had to stop my practice session to watch Kohli bat against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup,” she says. “I am happy that I did.”