THE RISE OF RADHA YADAV : INDIA’S UNIQUE FIND

Mumbai, the financial hub of the country inspires millions of people living in dilipadited conditions to migrate to the city in hope of a brighter future for their families.

However, most of them suffer from worse situations in the fast moving city, and the case was no different for a young Radha Yadav and her family. Her father struggled to make ends meet, and with the meagre income of selling milk from a small stall on the pavement outside their apartment, the family had to toughen it up through many years.

For Radha, the turning point came when her first coach, Prafull Naik, on the lookout for new cricketing talent, saw her playing with a couple of boys in her building’s compound. He insisted on including her for training, and even looked after her expenses. As soon as she began training, her father started selling a range of other items too, so that the extra income could be spent on her cricket equipment. Within just a few time of training under Naik, Radha was called up for the Mumbai Under-19 team. In 2016, Radha shifted to Baroda when her coach shifted base, and whilst living with her coach’s family, was included in the Baroda state team.

“When I saw Yadav at the Baroda nets for the first time, her body language and attitude brimmed with positivity,” Geeta Gayakwad, the chairperson of the Baroda Cricket Association women’s selection committee, says. “She has always been an enterprising girl, so I gave her the responsibility to lead the U-19 side.”

Two years after dominating the major domestic circuit, Yadav made her World T20 Debut in 2018 against South Africa, and in the same year, was included in the World T20 squad, where she emerged as the joint leading wicket taker for India. She was not only India’s highest wicket taker in 2019, but also left a scathing impact in the WT20 in 2020, even taking a four- fer against Sri Lanka.

Radha is a teenager looking to firmly book her berth in the Indian team, and quite successfully doing so. From playing in the compound of a small building in Mumbai to playing in front of thousands at the MCG in Australia, Radha admits to having worry about her family’s future too. Her father booked an entire hall to see his daughter play the World T20 final, and foreseeing the amount of talent she possesses as well as her bright future, Radha wishes for her father to retire, so that she can repay her loving parents for the unconditional support they gave for the field she chose to partake in.

A brilliant left-arm orthodox spinner, the 19 year old has emerged as a T20 specialist for India. Her baffling action has left many batsmen confused and being a young girl still in her teenage years, Radha is out to do so much more.

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