On 24th September 2007, MS Dhoni-led India lifted the World T20 Championships trophy in Johannesburg. While the Men in Blue were celebrating a close victory against rivals Pakistan; a young 9-year-old girl had just experienced the moment on her life on a television screen back home in Hyderabad. Fast-forward eleven years, this young lady- Arundhati Reddy- was in the Indian women’s team that reached the finals of the 2020 T20 World Championships in Australia.
Although the Women in Blue couldn’t cross the final hurdle like the men’s team did a decade ago, one question begs to be asked, “What exactly happened between these eleven years that a girl almost fulfilled her childhood dream?” Let’s find out…
22 (as of 2020)
Date of Birth
4 October 1997
T 20 Debut
19 September 2018
Arundhati Reddy Biography
Arundhati Reddy was born in the then Andhra Pradesh’s capital of Hyderabad. From the start, Arundhati was very good at her studies. In fact, she was one of the best in her school.
Arundhati used to play cricket with her brother, Rohit Reddy, and his friends in free time. Back then, she used to don short hair. Everybody else thought she was a boy since she dressed up like one. Soon compliments started to drop in, and people suggested that she should consider cricket.
In 2007, an 11-year old Arundhati used to stay late, not to study, but rather watch India’s World T20 Championship matches held in South Africa. India won the title and gave birth to the MSD era. Back in Hyderabad, it gave birth to dreams of professional cricket for Arundhati.
“So when India won the world cup, I always used to think that even I want to be there and do that, that is- win the cup. As a kid, I had just seen Indian winning the world cup and dreaming about being there, but now after getting this call, it is like a dream come true.”
What started as a source of recreation soon turned out as a serious affair, with the youngster taking the sport passionately.
Arundhati then spoke with her mother- Bhagya Reddy, who let her child’s dream take flight. Her mother spoke to Arundhati’s cousin, who used to play professionally.
Arundhati Reddy Career
Arundhati joined the same academy and started training. Despite bowling well, Arundhati wanted to keep wicket, as she was inspired by Rahul Dravid, a part-time Indian wicket-keeper.
“When I started off, I used to idolise Rahul Dravid sir. I wanted to be a wicket-keeper actually. Even when I went to my coaching camp, the first thing my coach asked me to do was to bowl. He liked my bowling, and then he told me that he wants me to improve as a bowler, a fast bowler.” However, she had other plans.
“But then my head was all into keeping, and I was not really interested in bowling. So after a few weeks, I spoke to my coach about it, and he said that if I want to keep, then I don’t need to come and attend his camp from the next day. Otherwise, probably I would have been a wicketkeeper (laughs),” Arundhati said in an interview.
After a couple of months in the academy, her coach sent her to the Women’s Summer Camp organised by the Hyderabad Cricket Academy. Arundhati was so good that she was directly sent to the U-19 team.
At the HCA, she came under Savita Nirala- the head coach of the women’s team. This move was very important for Reddy, as Nirala would go on to have a significant influence on the young prodigy. It was at HCA that Reddy started to get more engrossed in bowling than batting.
She was quick and agile due to her lean built and low centre of gravity. Nirala sensed this as an opportunity and groomed Reddy into an all-rounder with an inclination towards the right-arm fast bowler. Arundhati went on to get employed with Southern Railways as a junior clerk, whom she also represented on the sporting front.
There, she got acquainted with then Railways’ cricket coach Nooshin Al Khadeer, who also had a deep impact on her career. “Nooshin Al Khadeer and Savita Nirala were instrumental in shaping my career,” mirrors Reddy.
In August 2018, while practising for a local tournament, Reddy was informed by her friend about the Indian team call-up for the Women team’s T20 matches against Sri Lanka. “Honestly, I didn’t really expect the call. I was practising, and that’s when my friends called and told me the news. I just celebrated the occasion by having dinner with my family and friends, who were already there by the time I reached home,” she said after the call-up.
On her debut, Arundhati had an eventful bowling performance as she took the all-important wicket of a well-set B Mendes. On the other hand, though, she had conceded 37 runs in 3 overs. Her performance was eclipsed by that of Poonam Yadav’s, who had scalped four wickets for 26 runs in 4 overs to help India to a fine victory.
Arundhati rose to the occasion in the 3rd T20, when she displayed an all-around performance. She first scalped two crucial wickets of Mendes and H Siriwardene before displaying her fielding prowess by taking a catch and inflicting a run out on MK Dilhari.
On 28th September, it was declared that Arundhati Reddy would be donning the Indian jersey at the 2018 ICC Women’s World Cup in West Indies. The news came on the same day when another fast-bowler and veteran, Jhulan Goswami, announced her retirement. And naturally, people started to term her as the next Goswami.
After a dismissive 2018 T20 World Championships campaign, Reddy returned with 4 wickets in 3 T20Is during the tour of New Zealand. Arundhati has gone on to cement her spot in the Indian Women squad in the run to the 2020 T20 World Championships in Australia.
Arundhati Reddy is yet to receive an ODI Cap with the Indian Women’s cricket team.
Arundhati Reddy is yet to receive a Test Cap with the Indian Women’s cricket team.
Arundhati Reddy in World Cup
Reddy made her debut at the big stage in 2018 as a 20-year-old, 11-years after the moment which inspired her to take up the sport. On her World T20 Championships debut, Arundhati and the Indian women’s team faced New Zealand women.
Despite being expensive, Arundhati picked up Kiwi opener Susie Bates for her first victim, who was going at 67 off 50 balls.
The wicket changed the game, as NZ then fell for 160 against India’s 195. In the next game against Pakistan, Arundhati picked the wicket of opener Ayesha Zafar in the last ball of the first over of the innings. Arundhati lined up with 5 dots before Zafar edged the ball to Veda Krishnamurthy in the first slip.
Arundhati was benched for the remaining games of the campaign after she conceded 9 runs just 2 overs against Australia. Indian women went on to win the match thanks to Anuja Patil and Radha Yadav.
2020 World T20 Championships
The BCCI named Arundhati Reddy in a young and talented 15-member squad for the T20 World Championships in Australia. In the first match, a repeat of the final group game as well as the finals, which India then lost; Arundhati showed some economical bowling as Poonam Yadav and Shikha Pandey helped India win by 17 runs.
In the following match against Bangladesh, Reddy and the Indian bowling attack defended off 142. Reddy picked the wickets of Murshida Khatun and Fargana Hoque and lead the Indian women to a second consecutive victory.
Arundhati Reddy is known for her explosive pace and speedy deliveries. She is capable of swinging in both the directions with equal adroitness and can eventually come up with deadly bouncers as well. She can also prove to be a useful fielder, although her batting still remains untested. All the eyes will be on her performances in the Women’s World T20, where she has played consecutively.
Arundhati Reddy Family
Arundhati Reddy was born in Hyderabad, the state capital of Telangana, on 4 October 1997. Her mother, Bhavya Reddy, is an ex-volleyball player. Arundhati has, time and again, asserted her mother’s immense support for her success.
Instead of restricting her daughter from cricket and summoning her to focus on her academics, Bhagya did the exact opposite of it. She encouraged Arundhati to fully concentrate on the sport even if it meant that her studies would take a hit.
Acknowledging this, Arundhati recently said, “I was very good at my studies, but after I started playing professionally, my marks slipped. But not once did my mother push me to score better than other students. She has been very supportive.” Bhagya would play a doting mother for her ever since she started playing professionally.
Each morning, she would wake Arundhati at 4 am and would accompany her to the training ground. Thereafter, Bhagya would quickly return home, cook food, and take Arundhati to school. After school, she would then drop her daughter to another practice session and would only return home by 9 pm.
There was a reason for Bhagya’s immense support to Arundhati. She was a budding volleyball player in her time but couldn’t play any further due to financial constraints. She did not want to see her daughter face a similar fate. Highlighting this fact, Arundhati once said how her mother “saw herself in me.”
She also has a brother by the name Rohit Reddy, with whom she started to play cricket in her heydays.
Arundhati Reddy Unknown Facts
- Arundhati Reddy was born a ‘cricket-crazy family’.
- She follows Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling quite closely and idolises Rahul Dravid.
- Her mother is an ex-volleyball player.
- Arundhati Reddy was appointed as a junior clerk in the Southern Railways. This was her start to domestic cricket.
- The BCCI awarded Arundhati Reddy with the Grade C contract (₹10 Lakhs per annum)in 2019-20 for her exploits with the Indian National Women’s team.