CBP Ep. 6: Saee Purandare: badminton, cricket & more

Saee Purandare in action for Meghalaya. © Saee Purandare

Indian cricket is full of stories of prodigies. Several of them are playing international cricket and are now the faces of the next generation Indian team. At a time when videos of children playing flashy cover drives and helicopter shots are flooding the internet, Saee Purandare’s story comes as a breath of fresh air.

Originally from Maharashtra, Saee, who played professional badminton for a decade, only started training as a cricketer at the age of 22. She was selected for Maharashtra within a year, but only made her one-day domestic debut a couple of seasons later, at the age of 26, when she shifted base to Meghalaya.

At an age when many players within the domestic circuit are normally weighing up their options and thinking of letting go, Saee took her first steps in the setup and made everyone sit up and take note.

“Age is just a number,” Saee told Women’s CricZone in an exclusive chat. “I think we sometimes pay too much attention to that number. Of course, it is natural that if you want to train or become a professional athlete, it’s an advantage to start early, but age shouldn’t deter anyone from doing what they are really passionate about.”

Between 2018 and 2020, she has racked up over 1000 runs while opening the batting for Meghalaya. 88 per cent of those runs have resulted in Meghalaya wins. Through this period, she has scored four hundreds and five fifties at an average of 100.40. No one has scored more runs than her. She is in rarefied air.

Unfortunately her performances haven’t been enough to earn her a place at a higher level – Challenger tournaments or any of the representative sides. However, the right-hander continues her quest for improvement, with a focus on controlling the controllables.

She speaks freely about her transition from badminton pro to Meghalaya’s batting centrepiece, her work with Soniya Dabir, her ambitions, the hunger to win, dealing with disappointment and life beyond the boundary.

You can read the full interview here.