Fast bowler Titas Sadhu, mentored veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami, took three wickets and dismantled Sri Lanka’s top order in the women’s cricket final of the Asian Games at the Zhejiang University of Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field stadium as India won 19 runs to win gold. Like Jhulan had done for India over the years, Titas got the early breakthroughs to put the Lankans on the backfoot.
“Like any Bengal cricketer, Titas idolizes Jhulan Goswami and Rumeli Dhar (all-rounder and medium pacer). She often practices the inswinger like Goswami. When she had started playing cricket, Titas had the natural outswinger and she improved her inswinger under me and coach Priyankar Mukherjee. She always dreamt about playing for India at the senior level and winning the gold medal for the Indian cricket team in China will motivate her further. It’s a huge thing for the whole family as well as Indian cricket and she will cherish this moment,” her father Ranadeep Sadhu told The Indian Express from Kolkata.
On Monday, the 5-8′ tall Sadhu first removed Anushka Sanjeewani with a full delivery before dismissing Vishmi Gunaratne with a back of the length ball in her first over. She followed that with the wicket of Chamari Athapaththu in her second over and her bowling figures at that point read 2-1-1-3 after the first five overs of the Indian innings.
India Women made 116 for 7 and restricted Sri Lanka to 97 for 8 in 20 overs to win the gold medal.The Sadhu family from Chinsurah, 40 Km north of Kolkata, owns a stadium and academy in the town. Titas started off with track and field and later moved to football. The youngster trained under her father’s athletics coach Pinaki Karmakar.
Hangzhou: Indian players pose for photos after winning the gold medal in the women’s cricket event at the 19th Asian Games, in Hangzhou, China, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)
It was when she doubled up as a scorer at Rajendra Smriti Sangh Stadium that she fell in love with cricket.
“I was a state-level athlete and Titas would train under my coach. Being into athletics at an early age made her focus on stamina as well as strength. At the stadium, managing the manual score sheets also led her to watch the local matches with interest and it also helped her with field positions as well as match knowledge. She also played football accompanied my father Ahindra Kumar Sadhu at the academy and it also helped her understand the needs of a team game. Once we were on holiday. I took a football and tennis ball and after playing football, I asked her to bowl with the tennis ball while targeting the goal posts from a dance. She did that with ease and that’s when I decided to train her as a fast bowler,” senior Sadhu remembered.
The Bengal speedster, who initially was picked in Bengal U-19 probables in the 2019-20 season, broke into the Bengal senior team the following year under captain Rumeli Dhar. She would bowl in the nets under the supervision of coach Shib Shankar Pal. Last year, Sadhu claimed seven wickets in five matches for the Bengal T20 women’s team in the BCCI Senior Women’s T20 Trophy before she was picked up for the Indian U-19 team for the ICC U-19 Women’s World Cup this year. In the U-19 World Cup, she picked up a total of six wickets including two wickets in the final against England and won the player of the final award.Most Read
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“I always wanted her to be a pace bowler. She never complained about the hard work a fast bowler has to do and spending time under Jhulan early in her career helped her to learn from a world class bowler from close. In competitive cricket. We also worked on her wr positions and it helped her to adjust to the pitch conditions as well as the batter’s approach. She understands the length where the ball will hit the top of the stump. She often practices with a group of male pacers and it helped her a lot ahead of the Asian Games” Sadhu said.
Her coach Priyankar Mukherjee is happy that Titas is showing signs of filling the big shoes of Jhulan.
The final performance will motivate her further towards cementing her place in the Indian senior team and her Jhulan di (Goswami) would also be delighted to see her fill her shoes in the senior team, coach Mukherjee said.