Minnu Mani, born on 24th March 1999, is a name that is resonating in the world of Indian cricket. Hailing from the picturesque Wayanad district in Kerala, she has made her mark as an international cricketer, representing the Indian women’s national team. In domestic cricket, she has been a stalwart for the Kerala cricket team and has achieved significant milestones in her young career.
Early Life: A Journey of Determination
Minnu’s story is one of sheer determination and overcoming adversity. Hailing from Choyimoola in Wayanad, her family’s financial background was modest, with her father, Mani CK, working as a daily wage laborer and her mother, Vasantha, fulfilling the role of a homemaker. Minnu has a younger sister named Mimitha.
Her cricketing journey began at the tender age of 10 when she would play with boys in the paddy fields near her home. Initially, her family was hesitant about her playing cricket, but destiny had other plans. Her physical education teacher, Elsamma, recognized her innate talent and took her to the selection trials of the Wayanad District Under-13 team. This marked the beginning of Minnu’s remarkable cricketing odyssey.
Despite the challenges, including the need to travel for one and a half hours daily, switching between four buses to reach the nearest stadium from her home for practice, Minnu persevered. Her passion for the game and her relentless commitment began to pay off.
Domestic Stardom: Shining for Kerala
Minnu made her debut for the Kerala cricket team at a remarkably young age of 16. Her remarkable journey continued as she emerged as a key performer when the Kerala U-23 women’s team clinched the national T20 championship in 2018. With an impressive record of 188 runs and 11 wickets, she proved to be a game-changer.
In 2019, she earned the opportunity to represent India Blue in the Under-23 One Day Challenger Trophy, further solidifying her reputation as a rising star in Indian women’s cricket. Her exceptional performances led to her maiden call-up for the India A team touring Bangladesh and her participation in the ACC Emerging Women’s Asia Cup in the same year.
The IPL Dream: Joining Delhi Capitals
The year 2023 marked another significant milestone in Minnu’s career. During the Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction, the Delhi Capitals recognized her potential and secured her services. This marked her entry into the glamorous world of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and opened up new avenues for her to hone her skills and learn from the best in the business.
International Debut: Kerala’s Proud Moment
In July 2023, Minnu Mani achieved a historic feat by earning a call-up to the Indian women’s cricket team for the tour of Bangladesh. Her selection made her the first female cricketer from Kerala to represent the national side, a moment of immense pride for the state. She made her Women’s Twenty20 International cricket (WT20I) debut for India Women against Bangladesh Women on 9th July 2023. Throughout the series, she showcased her talent as India’s highest wicket-taker, amassing 5 wickets from three matches.
An Asian Games Contender
Minnu’s stellar performances did not go unnoticed, and on 15th July 2023, she was named in India’s squad for the 19th Asian Games, a testament to her growing stature in Indian women’s cricket.
Honors and Recognition
In recognition of her achievements, in July 2023, the Thalassery-Valliyoorkavu junction in the Mananthavady panchayath of her home district, Wayanad, was named after Minnu. This gesture underscored the significance of her journey from the paddy fields of Wayanad to representing India on the international stage.
Minnu Mani’s remarkable story is an inspiration to aspiring cricketers across the country. Her rise from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of Indian cricket showcases the power of determination, hard work, and passion for the game. As she continues to shine on the cricket field, her journey promises to inspire a new generation of cricketers from Kerala and beyond.