Posted 6 months ago

Cricket General

Harmanpreet Kaur: India's Inspirational Cricket Sta

Harmanpreet Kaur: India's Inspirational Cricket Sta
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Harmanpreet Kaur, well-known for her unforgettable 171 not-out during India’s dominating victory in the 2017 ODI World Cup semi-final against Australia, is a name often associated with cricket enthusiasts.

Recognized as the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, she holds the distinction of being the first woman to achieve a T20 century for India and the initial cricketer from the country to secure a contract in an overseas franchise league.

Despite an already impressive legacy, 2023 marked the 15th year of her international career, during which Kaur amassed a series of remarkable milestones. 

In February, she set records as the first cricketer to participate in 150 T20 matches and led her team to victory in the Women’s Premier League the subsequent month. 

Later in the year, she co-captained India to their historic Asian Games gold medal in cricket, partnering with Smriti Mandhana.

Her achievements garnered widespread acclaim as Wisden named her one of its five cricketers of the year, a remarkable feat for an Indian woman. 

Furthermore, her inclusion in BBC’s 100 Influential Women of the Year and TIME magazine’s 100 Next list underscored her growing global recognition.

These accolades serve as a testament to Kaur’s unparalleled influence in the cricketing world. They also coincide with a pivotal period for women’s cricket in India and beyond, as the sport continues to push boundaries and gain prominence.

She's a path-breaker too, having become the first India cricketer - male or female - to sign a Big Bash League contract with Sydney Thunder in Australia. 

The deal came about on the back of an impressive showing during India's tour of Australia in January 2016, where she made a 31-ball 46 to script India's highest-ever T20 chase. 

In June 2017, she became the first Indian to sign with Surrey Stars in ECB's Kia Super League.

Harmanpreet broke through in 2009, but it wasn't until 2013 when she stamped her class. Her century against England at the World Cup, albeit in a losing cause, earned her plaudits from opposition captain Charlotte Edwards. 

In April 2013, she was handed the captaincy when Mithali Raj was rested for the limited-overs series against Bangladesh, making it clear that she is the one waiting for the job. 

In November 2016, she replaced Raj as captain of the T20 team for the series against West Indies.

In 2017, Harmanpreet was honoured with the Arjuna Award, the second-highest sporting honour in India after the Khel Ratna.

In October 2019, during the series against South Africa, Harmanpreet also became the first Indian cricketer to play in 100 international Twenty20 matches.

Her trajectory as an athlete is inspiring and her journey is filled with moments that underline what it means to thrive in an industry that is largely male-dominated.

Though the team was not able to win the World Cup of 2017, she said, “India mai jo women’s cricket ki kami thi, matlab jab koi bhi ladka paida hota hai sab bolte hai cricketer bane, ladkiyon ko uss nigah se nahi dekha jaata, ki isko koi sport khilana hai, toh hum ne woh cheez shuru kar di.” ( After the World Cup, there was some sensation about women’s cricket in India. Men are expected to engage more in physical activities and sports, but women are usually not perceived in the same manner. Even if we did not win the World Cup, we were able to bring a slight change in the thought process of the people and presented to them a new perception).

Harmanpreet’s career graph is one that inspires many athletes, especially in a country like ours where it is not easy to step out of the gender boundaries that are imposed by society upon every individual. Women in sports, like most other fields, face extra pressure to prove themselves and be taken seriously.

Harmanpreet Kaur is an inspiration for every young girl to pay no heed to the stereotypical comments and opinions of society, and to push themselves closer to pursuing what they would want to. 

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