The women’s cricketing fraternity knew her as someone who loved calling the spade a spade. For most of her team-mates and wards, Sreerupa Bose Mukherjee was a friend, philosopher and guide, who was deeply in love with the game.
The love affair, however, ended on Thursday morning as Bose Mukherjee, 66, breathed her last at her Kolkata residence. She is survived by her husband, former Bengal Olympic Association president, Paresh Nath Mukherjee, and daughter— tennis player Amrita Mukherjee.
“It happened around 10:30 this morning at our residence, where she collapsed in the toilet. And after rushing her to the hospital, they declared her brought dead,” her husband Paresh Nath, told Sportstar from Kolkata.
A bowling all-rounder, Bose Mukherjee represented India in a couple of ODIs and later went on to coach the side during the Women’s World Cup in 1993, 1997 and 2000. Later, she became the chairperson of the selection committee of the then Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI), along with two other colleagues—Diana Edulji and Shanta Rangaswamy.
A great man-manager
“Sreerupa was great with man-management. She could get things done and could mould the team well,” her old friend and former chief national selector Rangaswamy told Sportstar.
While her international career was not quite attractive, Rangaswamy feels, it was because of Bose Mukherjee that Bengal’s women’s team remained an undisputed champion between 1973 and 1984. “We kept on telling her that she was more like a school monitor, who could get the best out of a team. Bengal did very well in those days, largely because of her,” Rangaswamy, who was the vice-captain of the India team that took on the Australia U-25 squad in an unofficial Test series in 1975, said.
“In that series, there were local captains, and in Kolkata, Sreerupa led the team, while I was her deputy. So many memories keep coming in,” Rangaswamy added.
However, as a coach she courted controversy in the quadrangular series in New Zealand in 1995, where she slapped the then team captain Purnima Rau to discipline the skipper — a section of the cricketing fraternity even called for her head. “She was a strong lady, and I hope her soul rests in peace,” Rau told Sportstar.
A cricket connoisseur
A keen follower of the game, Bose Mukherjee also encouraged cricketers like Jhulan Goswami and Rumeli Dhar to take up the sport seriously. She was later a part of the faculty at the University of Calcutta’s department of journalism.
“She was a strong lady, who loved the game. There are so many memories with her,” her former team-mate Sudha Shah told this publication.
Bose Mukherjee’s demise has certainly created a huge void in Indian women’s cricket circuit.
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