Plucky player lost out due to selectors' whims

Published: Monday, October 30, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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Rajini, in some ways, has always remained an enigma. For a player with superb batting ability that was honed after years of hard work, she displayed a lackadaisical approach to fielding. Her approach to fielding sometimes bordered on indifference, or so she led others to believe. "To be sincere with oneself is better and harder than to be painstakingly accurate with others" seemed to be her attitude.

After the compulsory lay off of five years (courtesy of the Women's Cricket Association of India) when no international events were held, Rajini was once again in the centre stage in the 1991 Indian tour of Australia. On the hard wickets of Australia, where survival at the middle was itself difficult, Rajini was the best Indian batsman. She was the only Indian who made batting look easy while all others struggled.

Rajini had two half centuries, one each in the first and third Tests. While even Sandhya Agarwal, arguably the best Indian batsman ever, struggled to notch up a 51 off 452 minutes; Rajini did it with aplomb and style. The Indian tour of Australia was a disaster and without Rajini, it would have ended in a catastrophe. For many who were saying she was lucky for the breaks she got, she proved that "Luck is a very good word if you put 'P' before it". And Pluck, denoting courage, was something she had aplenty.

For all her talent, Rajini was one of those not well liked by the powers that be. She believed in playing her game and letting her game do the talking. This and her seemingly indifferent attitude did not do her chances any good. In the 1997 World Cup in India, there were two players who were dealt cruel blows by the unkind acts of the selectors - Rajini and Mamatha Maben (who is now a staffer of Thatscricket.com, which is an affiliate of Indiainfo.com).

Either the selectors did not like the colour of their skin or their faces. Rajini was indisputably the best batsman going around at that time and in the final analysis the Indian team lost out because of the absence of quality batsmen at the crunch time. Mamatha was and is one of the best fielders and a good bat, who could change her style of play to suit the team's needs. The presence of these two would have bolstered the Indian team and their absence was definitely not on pure cricketing grounds.

Rajini's batting was unique and in my opinion the teenage prodigy of the eighties should have still been serving the team. But then who can fathom the whims and fancies of the selectors and powers that be. She was a player who provided solidity to the Indian middle order and proved her mettle under most difficult conditions. For Rajini, batting was like singing a song and in that concept, her batting was music to the ears of her teammates.

Thatscricket.com salutes this great cricketer for the sheer music and visual pleasures that her batting provided.

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