Battling her way to top

Bolangir in western Odisha, one of the poorest districts in the country, often grabs media headlines for all the wrong reasons -- be it acute poverty, repeated droughts or the plights of migrant labourers who travel to all parts of the country in search of work and livelihood.

For a change, the district is now in the news for a different reason: the cricketing skills of Roshanara Parveen, a 20-year-old woman cricketer who has managed get into the senior Indian women’s cricket team who are headed to Sri Lanka soon to participate in the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in the island nation later this month and early October.
Roshanara has been included in the 14-member Indian squad as a specialist off-spinner.

Roshanara, who belongs to a lower middle class family residing in Bolangir town -- her father is small time businessman, was reportedly grazing goats raised by her father before she began her cricketing journey. She was keen since her childhood and was playing the game along with her brother in a rubber ball till a local coach Arun Nayak spotted her talent and included her in the district women’s cricket team for inter district competition in 2007.

She has not looked back since. Her consistant performances earner her a place in the Odisha Women’s cricket team first and now a place in the senior Indian squad.
“We all are proud of her. She has brought glory not only to his home district of Bolangir but the entire state,” said president of the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) Ranjib Biswal.

The OCA has already awarded a cash incentive of Rs one lakh for the young woman cricket star.

Roshanara has become the second woman cricketer from Odisha to make it to the senior national women’s cricket team. Significantly, Madhuri Mehta, the first woman cricketer from the eastern state to represent India was also from the Bolangir district.
Madhuri was in the senior Indian women cricket squad that had toured the West Indies early this year.

Both Madhuri and Roshanara were among the 30 top woman cricketers who had been called to the selection camp in Andhra Pradesh. However, only Roshanara could make it to the final 14.

The success of the two young woman cricketers from a backward district like Bolangir has prompted the OCA to scout for young woman talents in interior pockets of the state.
“We are now planning eight cricket academies in different areas to search for young talents,” said Biswal.

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