Leaving your family and going to a new country is always a daunting task for students, having to learn the culture, getting to know your surroundings, and trying to make new friends, all the while maintaining good grades can be hard, and can make one homesick. My guest today went through the same grind when she first landed in Canada, until she found cricket, through cricket she found friends, through cricket she found support, and through cricket, she is making waves in the women’s league in Alberta, On Cricktalk20 I have The Flame from Calgary Neetu Verma.
Hi, Neetu tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Punjab, India. After finishing my secondary education, I came to Canada as an International student in Vancouver in 2015. I did my Associate degree in Business Administration. I got my work permit based on studies. I worked for 3 years in restaurants, became an Assistant Manager in A& W restaurant. But, points for getting eligible for PR were still not enough so I had to move to Calgary. I am feeling so blessed that I got everything in my hand and processed my file. fortunately, Cricket too. I am an Allrounder player. I got selected for Camp in India which is the next level after playing state level.
When did you start playing cricket?
I was 7 years old when I started playing cricket with my cousins back home in India.we were 30- 35 children who got together every evening after school, played cricket. From there, I learned the basics.
Who inspired you to take up cricket?
My Father and I used to watch all the matches on TV, since my childhood. I really got interested in playing cricket.
Then suddenly, my school introduced Cricket for girls. I started playing cricket for my school in 2012- 2013.
How is the cricket scene in Calgary?
It is actually developed more than my imagination. Before COVID 19, we were having practice every weekend for an hour and a half. Our team welcomes all females with no age restriction. My coach, Omaima Waqar, is really responsible and friendly for all situations. Our team has players from all around the world.
Is there a women’s league in Calgary?
Yes, there is an Alberta cricket league for men and women. This year, we are having 3 women’s league starting from April to August in which teams from all over Alberta are going to participate if COVID 19 calms down. There is also CANADA DAY CUP tournament which invites teams from all provinces every year.
Are there any programs in place to develop the game in Calgary?
I went to Calgary cricket function where the Association awarded teams who won last year. The head of Alberta cricket announced some achievements and they are introducing more cricket pitches in the city and providing more equipment to the teams, so yes the development is heading in the right direction.
Do you train during the winter months?
Yes, we get indoor training in the winters in Higher level sports academy situated in NE Calgary.
What is your greatest cricket experience?
I was 17 when I went for matches back to back. Never had a thought of getting selected for Camp. I was just satisfying my hobby but I never realized when it became my passion. we had a match at state level and I scored 33 and stood from opening till the end of the innings & I took 4 wickets as a bowler which was an achievement in itself for me.
If given a chance which player would you love to play alongside with?
I am a huge fan of MS DHONI, The Indian male cricketer. I would love getting training from him and show my skills while playing in the Indian female team. I really want to play with Smriti Mandhana, a female batsman. Both are really Inspirational personalities.
How would you define success?
According to my perspective, success is the level where you achieve things at your satisfying level. Some people are really satisfied playing in city teams along with feeding their families with professional jobs. Young people have the opportunity and time to prove themselves to go ahead for any level of success in their desired career, so they try for getting achievements as much they can.