Indian pacer Renuka Singh Thakur took 4 for 18 against Australia during the Group A opener of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Friday.
Renuka hails from Parsa, a village in Rohru, 325kms from Dharamsala. She lost her father — Kehar Singh — when she was just three.
Renuka started India’s defence of 155 in style, removing Australian opener Alyssa Healy on the second ball of the innings. The 26-year-old Thakur, who represents Uttar Pradesh in domestic cricket, followed it up by picking the big scalp of opposition captain Meg Lanning in her second over. Four deliveries later, she went through the defense of Beth Mooney, the other opener.
In her third over, Thakur bowled Tahlia McGrath to reduce Australia to 4 for 34.
While in school, Renuka developed a passion for the game. Her uncle Bhupinder Singh Thakur pursuaded the family to send a young Renuka to Dharamsala and join the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Academy’s women’s residential academy.
Renuka was hardly 15 then. She honed her skills under the watchful eyes of Pawan Sen for a couple of years before breaking into the Himachal Pradesh team. Soon, the pacer made her presence felt and bagged 21 wickets in the 2018-19 season, which led to her selection in the Challenger Trophy, followed by an India A call-up for the tour of Australia.