Ask Sudha Shah about being made a member of TNCA’s Cricket Advisory Committee and her answer is spontaneous. “I was a bit surprised,” she said.
The former India women’s team captain later donned the role of National team coach and selector. Cricket has always kept her occupied.
And now comes the role in the CAC. She said to Sportstar , “It’s good for women that they have a representative in the CAC. I will have my focus both on the men’s team, where winning the Ranji Trophy is our goal, and the women’s team.”
Breaking the glass ceiling
Sudha, now 62, is delighted about Rupa Gurunath being the president of the TNCA. Sudha said, “She really broke the glass ceiling. A few years ago if anyone had said a woman was going to become the president of a State Cricket Association, everyone would have laughed.”
The busy Sudha said she had not met Rupa after her appointment. “I am keen to meet her, and, in particular, discuss the State’s women’s cricket with her.”
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Sudha felt the Tamil Nadu women’s team, despite talent, had not really been performing well in the domestic competitions. She noted, “Not too long ago, Tamil Nadu was a force in women’s cricket. That is not the case now. We are not even qualifying for the next stage.”
Sudha added, “Because they do not make it to the later phases of a tournament, their visibility is low. Their performances do not get noticed. Girls from other States score over them.”
'Thought and effort' needed
But for an odd name, the Indian team is largely bereft of players from Tamil Nadu. Sudha observed, “It’s sad. But if we take the right steps, our girls will be back in contention.”
Sudha said focus should be on women’s junior cricket to make the senior team strong. “A lot of thought and effort is needed to improve our junior structure. Once that happens, our bench strength will improve.”
Sudha believes the CAC can turn things around for the State with the help of the cricketers.