Shashi, 'Miss Dependable' of women's cricket

Published: Monday, October 16, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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The series against the visiting New Zealand team in 1985 was also a successful one for Shashi. She is one of the three Indians who have the distinction of scoring over 100 runs and capturing 10 wickets or more in a series. Shashi scored 187 runs and captured 10 wickets in this particular series. Shubangi got 143 runs and captured 10 wickets against the 1985 New Zealand team, while Sangita Dabir scored 194 runs and captured 10 wickets in the nineties.

Shashi was a player with great endurance. Never scared of hard work, she was the type who volunteered to be in the thick of action even at times of crises. She never allowed the situation, even when unfavourable, to dictate terms to her as she would set out to carry the fire to the opponents' camp. She never got flustered and could well be termed "Miss Dependable" as her leadership traits came to the fore at times when it was least expected.

At one point of time, Shashi was one of the quickest though I found Sandra Braganza quicker and more effective with her away deliveries. Shashi was the best back foot player as none could match her stroke play off her back foot.

The 1986 Indian tour of England raised a lot of controversy with some dubious umpiring decisions in the first Test. Diana Edulji, the captain, had not played this match because of a broken finger and Shubangi Kulkarni had led India. The British media, known for its bias, had highlighted what was supposedly slow tactics of the Indian team quietly ignoring the clear cut decisions that went against us with Shashi and myself being the unlucky bowlers. Both of us ended up with four wickets apiece in this match.

The Indian men's team was touring England around the same time and beat England comprehensively in the series. Sunil Gavaskar, who witnessed one of the matches, took up cudgels on our behalf and wrote in his columns against the bias of the British press.

Shashi played the World Cup in England in 1993, which also happened to be her swan song as she quit immediately after that to devote more time to her marriage and family.

In her career spanning almost 10 years, the one quality that always characterised Shashi was her "never say die" attitude. She was a gutsy player who never allowed the circumstances to bog her down. In this world where a great deal of talent is lost for want of courage, it could never be said so about players like Shashi Gupta whose deeds symbolised courage.

In a country where women are burdened with the great responsibilities they shoulder in various capacities, the game needs more players in the mould of Shashi Gupta. Thatscricket.com acknowledges her services to the game by including her name in the Golden Oldies section of the write up leading to the World Cup.

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