Pooja Vastrakar: Rising Through Adversity to Shine on the Cricket Field

Pooja Vastrakar, born on 25th September 1999, has emerged as a promising talent in Indian women’s cricket. Hailing from Madhya Pradesh, this versatile cricketer has made her mark as an all-rounder, representing both her state team and the Indian national squad. With her right-arm medium-fast bowling and right-handed batting skills, she has garnered attention and admiration in the cricketing world.

Early Days and Discovery of Talent

Pooja’s cricketing journey began in her hometown of Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh, where she fearlessly played cricket with the boys in her neighborhood. Her innate talent was spotted when she started practicing net batting at a local stadium. It was there that Coach Ashutosh Shrivastava recognized her potential and initiated her formal training.

Initially, Pooja primarily focused on her batting skills. However, when she joined the Madhya Pradesh women’s team, she began honing her fast-bowling abilities alongside her batting prowess. Her rapid development was evident when, at the tender age of 15, she became a part of the India Green Women Squad, a significant milestone in her budding career.

In 2016, during a senior women’s domestic match, Pooja faced a setback when she twisted her knee while fielding. This unfortunate incident led to a surgery for an anterior cruciate ligament tear, which jeopardized her chances of receiving a national call-up. Nevertheless, her determination and resilience saw her make a remarkable recovery.

A Remarkable Journey to International Cricket

Pooja Vastrakar’s international journey commenced when she made her Women’s One Day International cricket (WODI) debut for India Women against South Africa Women on 10th February 2018. Just three days later, she also made her Women’s Twenty20 International cricket (WT20I) debut against the same opponent.

Her ascent in Indian cricket continued as she was named in India’s squad for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies. However, a cruel twist of fate saw her suffer an injury during a warm-up match, forcing her to miss the entire tournament.

Undeterred by setbacks, Pooja remained committed to her craft. In January 2020, she was once again included in India’s squad, this time for the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, marking her return to the international stage.

In May 2021, Pooja received another significant recognition when she was named in India’s Test squad for their one-off match against the England women’s cricket team. Her Test debut followed on 16th June 2021, as she donned the Indian jersey in a historic match against England.

The pinnacle of Pooja’s career thus far was her inclusion in India’s team for the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand. In the tournament, she showcased her all-round prowess, scoring 156 runs at an impressive average of 26.00 and taking 10 wickets with an average of 18.30.

Pooja’s journey in international cricket has been nothing short of inspiring. Her resilience, versatility, and unwavering dedication to the sport have made her a valuable asset to the Indian women’s cricket team.

A Beacon of Hope and Inspiration

Off the field, Pooja Vastrakar’s life story serves as an inspiration to many. She comes from a humble background, with her father being a retired employee of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Tragedy struck her family when she lost her mother at the tender age of ten. Pooja is the youngest of seven siblings, with four sisters and two brothers.

Pooja Vastrakar’s journey from the dusty streets of Shahdol to the international cricketing arena exemplifies the power of determination and hard work. As she continues to shine on the cricket field, she remains a symbol of hope and inspiration for aspiring cricketers across India and beyond.

With her career still in its early stages, Pooja Vastrakar undoubtedly has a bright future ahead. Her dedication to the sport and her remarkable performances make her a name to watch out for in Indian women’s cricket. As she continues to rise through the ranks, the cricketing world eagerly anticipates her future contributions to the game.

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