Diana Edulji, God's gift to women's cricket

Published: Thursday, August 24, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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Diana's name has become synonymous with women's cricket in the country. If there has been a single player who stayed in the limelight by sheer weight of performance, it is Diana Edulji.

At the age of 44, she played in the National Championships this year and won the championship for Indian Railways by her brilliance with the ball and a never-say- die approach in captaincy. She was the best bowler of the tournament claiming plenty of wickets and ensuring that her team won.

Diana is undoubtedly the most successful bowler India has ever produced. When she started her international career, she had lot of variations and was never scared to experiment. Her armer was so effective that she could weave a web, which found the opponents invariably entangled in it.

Her foray into international cricket started with a flourish - a hurricane knock of 48 in the first ever Test India played. She notched up 57 runs in the two innings, remaining unbeaten on both occasions and also captured eight wickets for 86 runs. This was a good debut by any standard leave alone a match where the nation was playing its first Test ever.

This performance was just a forerunner of things to unfold as Diana never looked back from there on. Behind the pranks she invariably indulged in, was hidden a steadfast commitment to the game. Her image as a fun loving person developed over the years because of her mischief and practical jokes she played on others.

She had immense capacity to make people laugh and was invariably the live wire of any group. In the initial years, she had the ability to carry this sense of humour to the ground. Diana had the uncanny gift of making people laugh with her wit and players started to expect fun the minute she entered the room.

She may not be rated as the best left-arm spinner of India (as Sharmila Chakraborty was reckoned more orthodox) but she definitely was the most successful bowler for India. She has rendered yeoman service to the game of women's cricket and India.

Her utility to the team is immeasurable and she obviously qualifies as one of the best all-rounders of India. The mere fact that I regard my victory against her in the single wicket tournament played at Patiala in 1975 as one of my coveted ones just goes to prove the respect I hold for her cricketing ability. Needless to say she had the better of me on quite a few occasions since then.

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