From some gritty knocks to two hat-tricks, we have seen it all in the first few days of the U19 T20 World Cup. The tournament in South Africa is giving a fine display of the enormous talent that’s there in the women’s game. But the sporting talent that some of these teenagers possess is not limited to cricket alone.
Women’s cricket has always had players who have played at a significant level in another sport, including some dual-internationals. Before the professionalisation of the women’s game, players could go on representing their country in multiple sports. Now considered an all-time great of cricket, Ellyse Perry had to famously bid goodbye to the Matildas, the Australian women’s soccer team, a decade back. Suzie Bates has represented New Zealand as a basketball player at the Olympics, while her White Ferns teammate Sophie Devine has played for the country’s hockey team.
Let’s meet a few stars of the U19 World Cup who are taking forward the legacy of these big names of the women’s game:
Theertha Satish (UAE) - Football
The UAE captain played multiple sports growing up and was pretty good at football too! In 2019, she was picked for the trials for Fifa U17 World Cup Team Camp through the All India Football Federation’s Overseas Scouting Project. It was the Tamil movie Kanaa, which follows the journey of a girl who dreams of winning the Cricket World Cup, that made her pick up cricket.
Rinitha Rajith and Rishitha Rajith (UAE) - Badminton
Rinitha (17) and Rishitha (15) have followed in the footsteps of their elder sister Rithika in representing the UAE in cricket. But this is not the first time they have played a sport together internationally. The Rajiths have also played badminton at the top level, both individually and as a doubles pair.
Sophia Smale (England) - Hockey
Left-arm spinner Sophia Smale, had a breakout year on the cricket field in 2022 when she was called in by the The Hundred team Oval Invincibles as an injury replacement player and finished as the tournament winning side’s joint-leading wicket taker. Earlier in the same year, Sophia was also picked to represent Wales in hockey and was named in the country’s Under-18s girls’ National Age Group squad.
Josie Groves (England) - Netball
The second of the three dual-internationals in the England side, leg-spin all-rounder Josie Groves plays in the Centre and Wing Attack positions for the Netball club the Saracens Mavericks. She was amongst the young players selected for the England Roses Academy programme for 2022-23.
Ryana Macdonald-Gay (England) - Hockey
The U19 T20 World Cup isn’t the first time that pacer Ryana Macdonald-Gay is representing England internationally at the age-group level. She has done the same in hockey, having played for her country at the U16, U18 and U21 levels.
Aliza Sabir Khan (Pakistan) - Football
Pakistan’s top order batter Aliza Sabir Khan is also a professional footballer. She has represented Pakistan U16 Women’s Football side in the past. Aliza, who plays as a midfielder, was named in the 34-member squad for the Women’s National Football Team Camp by the Pakistan Football Federation in December. However, she has to miss out on the Four-Nation Cup, which is being played in Saudi Arabia this month.
Hurley Gala (India) - Skating
Hurley Gala, the fast bowling sensation from Mumbai, was always a sporty kid. She took up skating in her early school years and went on to compete in the sport at the state level. Cricket entered her life only when an ankle injury prevented her from skating and a local newspaper organised a tournament for girls that she took part in.
ALSO READ: Hurley Gala: Teen fast bowling prodigy from Mumbai
From the New Zealand captain Izzy Sharp, who has also taken part in netball, rippa rugby, horse riding, hockey and swimming, to the Australian skipper Rhys McKenna, who like her childhood idol Ellyse Perry, played soccer as a kid.
Ireland's Amy Hunter and Georgina Dempsey still play hockey at various levels. The U19 World Cup has many more such multi-talented athletes in action.