Shubangi, an all-rounder par excellence

Published: Monday, September 25, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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Even though Shubu batted well in the series against England in 1981 and against Australia in 1984, her best was in the 1986 tour of England by the Indian team. Diana was the captain but Shubu led the team in the first Test as the former opted out due to a broken finger in an earlier match. When the odds were against us, she came up with a splendid century at Collingham and followed it up with a 78 in the second Test at Black Pool.

Unlike many of the Indian batsmen whose slow scoring did not help Indian team's chances in One-day games, Shubu had the ability to keep the board ticking and could play according to her team's requirements. This ability coupled with being the best all-rounder in the country made her an automatic choice for shouldering the awesome responsibility of captaining India when India toured Australia in 1991.

Shubu started leading Maharashtra after Ujwala Nikam quit the scene. She was also one of the contenders for the West Zone captaincy along with Diana Edulji till the later switched over to the Railways/Institutional Zone. But Shubu the bowler and Shubu the batsman was way ahead of Shubu the captain.

Perhaps donning the mantle of the country's best all-rounder proved to be so overwhelming that captaincy got relegated to the secondary position. There were instances when one found her allowing things to drift when she was leading.

But Shubu was definitely a great asset to any side and her stellar performances for India definitely went a long way in carving a prime place for her in the annals of the game. Her performance secured for her the most prestigious sports award in the country; "Arjuna Award" for 1985 thus becoming the third Indian to be bestowed this honour. The Maharashtra government has also recognised her services to the game and she has won a few state awards.

There are very few cricketers who time their retirement to precision. It is an art to know when to quit, when people wonder why you quit even though everything was going your way. When Shubu announced her retirement immediately after the Indian team's tour of Australia in 1991, many eyebrows were raised as she was still the best all-rounder in the country who could force her way into the team both as a bowler and as a batsman. Just like Sunil Gavaskar, her erstwhile business associate, she quit when she was still at her peak.

In this day when former players are needed in the administration of the game, Shubu's is one of the accepted names by the officialdom and she has been co-opted in the Executive Committee of the Women's cricket Association of India (WCAI). Thatscricket.com salutes her for the key part she has played in enabling the game to scale great heights and wishes her a great time in cricket administration.

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