A prodigious talent announces her arrival

India batswoman Jemimah Rodrigues, who struck a 41-ball 42 in the third ODI against Australia, likes being an opener.

Jemimah Rodrigues in action against Australia at the Reliance Cricket Stadium in Vadodara on Sunday.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

 

Jemimah Rodrigues. Remember the name. You are likely to hear it a lot over the next few years. If you have followed women's cricket of late, you could already have heard about her. When she took a stunning catch at the boundary line in South Africa, the great Sachin Tendulkar tweeted about. On Sunday, against Australia in her second ODI match at the Reliance Cricket Stadium here, Rodrigues set the tone for India with a 41-ball 42.

Megan Schutt — a crafty and an accurate pacer who is hard to score off — opened the bowling. Rodrigues hit her twice through the leg-side for attractive boundaries. It was difficult to believe that the batswoman was just 17.

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It is still early days, but the way she handled pressure at the highest level is remarkable.

In the final Twenty 20 match against South Africa at Cape Town, she had struck 44 off 34 balls to help India win the series. On her debut, she had made 37 at Potchefstroom.

She couldn’t shine on ODI debut — the first of the three-match series against Australia here — and was frustrated to be out for one. “I was very disappointed with that,” she told Sportstar. “I had no problem going in at No. 3, though it was my first ODI game, but I like opening the innings.”

As for the South African series, the Mumbai girl said she had reasonable expectations about making the Indian squad, following her exploits in the domestic season. She had slammed 202 off just 163 balls for Maharashtra against Saurashtra in an U-19 game.

She was happy to contribute towards India's success in South Africa. "It was a great series for me personally too," she said. "It felt nice when Tendulkar praised me. I have met him too, along with my father Ivan, who coached me at my school."

She is also a talented hockey player and has played for her state. "But I know that it would be difficult to pursue two sports," said Rodrigues, who admires Rohit Sharma. "Cricket, of course, is my first choice.”

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