Vanitha VR’s blistering 206 brings the curtain down on KSCA inter-club league

Sidhanta Patnaik
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Vanitha VR’s blistering 206 brings the curtain down on KSCA inter-club league

Jawans won the KSCA inter-club league, which concluded in Bangalore on February 3.

VR Vanitha, who has played 22 matches for India, made a splash in the Bangalore club circuit with a knock of 206 off 93 balls on Monday (February 4). Her innings, studded with 12 sixes and 19 fours, helped Jawans Cricket Club beat Rajajinagar Cricket Club comprehensively in the final of Karnataka State Cricket Association’s 16-club league at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

“When I was on 170, Irfan (Sait, the coach) sir sent a word from outside that now we have got sufficient runs for the team, you can now aim to stick around to make that 200 and have a personal milestone,” Vanitha told Women’s CricZone. “Even I thought, why not as we had around seven overs left at that point.”

It was Vanitha’s third brisk knock in as many games. She had made 64 off 20 balls in the quarterfinal, and an unbeaten 153 against Herons Cricket Club in the semifinal.

“The knock against Herons was satisfying because they are a star-studded team with a couple of India A players and a few who have played in the Challenger Trophy. It was nice to get those runs against them and I carried that momentum into the final,” she added. “So, in the last three games I have piled up around 400 runs.”

Vanitha credited Dilip Kumar, a Level 3 coach from Hyderabad, under whom she has been training recently, for her free flow of runs. “I played 360-degree today, which was very pleasing as I utilised the field completely. Couple of hits were into the stands. It was quite satisfying the way I was striking the ball today,” she explained. “Mr. Dilip put me into various modes of training and that helped me today to go and execute it. Most of the training were around clear vertical bat hitting. He never stopped me from playing my shots. He focussed more on vertical shots and holding the shape of the shots. That’s really helped me today. Presenting the full face of the bat, I was able to play my shots.”

publive-image Vanitha VR

With the inter-state Twenty20 tournament starting from February 20, the KSCA league has allowed Vanitha to hit the groove early. “Personally for me this league was a preparation for the upcoming inter-state T20. These games were being played at good grounds, which gave me an opportunity to identify my shots, the go-to areas where I want to play. So these matches were more of practice for me to spend more time at the centre.”

A total of 16 clubs were divided into four groups, and the top two teams from each group qualified for the knockouts. The matches were 30-overs-a-side. This is the first time after seven seasons that KSCA have organised the league, and Vanitha was thankful to her association as it gave youngsters, who were earlier restricted to just attending nets sessions, a chance to showcase their skills.

“For youngsters, it is a great platform as there were quite a few seniors (including Veda Krishnamurthy) playing in these matches. I am sure a lot of youngsters will take up the game seriously based on this tournament because they had the opportunity to showcase their talent,” she said. “It is another way of reaching to the senior state selection or any level of selection. These kind of matches will make the girls all the more serious about cricket.

“All thanks to KSCA, after seven years they reintroduced the league and that too before the crucial T20 tournament. That gives us a mould to prepare for the state games,” she continued. “We have extra bit of practice before our state games. Anytime batting in a match situation is better than batting in the nets.  If you look at it from a larger picture, it will make the girls think about the areas they need to work on, and not just about representing their club but it is more opportunities to prepare. That’s what I believe in and why I played with a lot of seriousness. Playing in the stadium today, helped me find my hitting range.”

KSCA’s work towards women’s cricket in recent past has not gone unnoticed. For the last two seasons, they have had exhibitions games in the Karnataka Premier League, and now the league has taken the intent to another level. It means more than 180 girls played in front of the state selectors. Vanitha believed that all state associations should work towards having such leagues for players to get rid of any kind of stage fright.

“These kind of leagues will take away the fear of lack of match practice, and also gives a lot of exposure compared to the less number of matches they usually get. Playing these extra few games sets the tone for the upcoming T20s,” she said. “I must tell that KSCA has done a fantastic job in organising the league before the state T20s. KSCA is taking great initiative in developing women’s cricket and hope they continue to do that so that we are in par with men and it is also a great platform for new talents to emerge.”