She was never really interested in cricket or sports in general. For her, it was kind of a day to day activity because her family owned the sports centre. She used to go in the evening to indulge in swimming lessons and then come back home and get back to studying. Then it went to being a score keeper for the matches at the sports centre. From there to winning the final at the inaugural Under-19 World Cup, it has been a full circle for the 19-year-old Titas Sadhu.
It was her fifth international appearance for India. Sadhu already had a great performance at this level with a 3 for 6 in the Asian Games gold medal match against China. But this was different, she was up against the world champions Australia. It was a last minute inclusion as skipper Harmanpreet Kaur revealed later, but the Bengal pacer was up against Australia in the first T20I after sitting out during India’s series loss against the visitors.
Sadhu was instrumental in India kick-starting the T20I series on a high. Her spell of 4 for 17 in the opening game helped India to clinical win at the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Friday (January 5) after Harmanpreet won an important toss and elected to field first.
Coming onto bowl in the fourth over, she picked up the big wickets of Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath and Ashleigh Gardner in her first two overs to reduce Australia to 33 for 4 inside the power play. She then came back to dismiss Annabel Sutherland as well to bag her career-best T20I figures so far.
Sadhu finished her spell and walked away with a wry smile as was denied the fifer thanks to a proactive DRS call from Ellyse Perry that saved Georgia Wareham. With wickets falling regularly, Australia never could take complete control of their innings and were eventually bowled out for 141 in 19.2 overs.
Sadhu had been waiting for this opportunity to play a match even as she worked hard on the sidelines during the series. On match day morning only, she was informed about her inclusion in the XI. During the post match conference, the young pacer talked about how she gets very excited in general when she is playing, but her aim was to hit the right lengths and make the ball move a little to get the job done.
Being on the sidelines is something Sadhu experienced during the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL). Although she is yet to make her debut for Delhi Capitals, she continued working hard on the sidelines and had interactions with few of the Australian players during the competition. So when the dream of bowling against them came true, Sadhu didn’t look back.
Sadhu, who started playing at the age of 13, looks up to Jhulan Goswami and the legendary India pacer has been a huge part of her cricket. Sadhu acknowledged the longevity of Goswami while playing international cricket and added how the latter used to constantly guide her over texts even when they are away from the Bengal side.
”Stop thinking about everything else, just bowl fast,” is one mantra of Goswami that she is always trying to follow, Sadhu continued.
True to the India vice-captain Smriti Mandhana’s words, Sadhu wants to stay ‘sorted’ and is very aware of the fickle nature of cricket. India would be hoping for her to have more good days and continue the progress she has made in the last six months.
"Cricket is a very humbling game. Today's high can be tomorrow's low. Whoever you are, you always come back to the ground and the next match is a new match. What you have done yesterday is gone,” Sadhu concluded.