This is Shweta Sehrawat’s first visit to Mumbai, and ever since she landed in the city a couple of weeks ago, the Delhi girl wanted to visit the Marine Drive and the Gateway of India.
However, being the captain of the India U-19 women’s team for the ongoing five-match T20 series against New Zealand, does not allow Shweta any time. Her day begins early with training sessions after which she heads back to her hotel to focus on the game coming up.
A window for some ‘Mumbai Darshan’ opened up in her schedule last week, when she headed South Bombay with a few of her teammates. Marine Drive, the Queen’s Necklace and some Bambaiya street food were all ticked off the checklist.
“ Bahot maza hai (we had so much fun)… It was such a lovely experience,” she tells Sportstar.
An opening batter, Shweta is an aggressive, fearless cricketer on the pitch. However, she makes it a point to switch off once she’s off it.
“When I am on the field, I want to give my hundred per cent and make sure that I don’t give any opportunity to the opponent to bounce back. But once the game is over, I love to chill,” she says with a smile. “That helps me not to take any pressure and whenever I have free time, I love to travel and explore new places…”
And, that’s why, when she flew down to Mumbai, Shweta knew ‘ ekdin Marine Drive jaana hi padega…’
The batter’s cricketing journey began early in Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. Her dreams found ample encouragement from her father, a property dealer, and her mother, a home-maker.
A student of Modern School, Barakhamba Road, she would accompany her elder sister to a local coaching centre and would just pick up the bat and indulge in some shadow practice. While her mother would wait to pick up the elder daughter from the coaching centre, Shweta would play on her own. “Right from then, I enjoyed batting with the cosco ball (tennis ball). I could connect the ball well and with the guidance of my coaches, I slowly developed my game,” she says.
When Shweta was 12, she participated in Delhi’s senior women’s trials and was among the chosen 30, but it took her a few more years to break into the U-16 team, where she scored her first half-century against Haryana.
“After that I slowly started getting more opportunities and then made it to the U-19 team for Delhi,” she says. Back then, she would bat lower down the order - at No. 7 or No. 8 - but over the years, she’s warmed up to the charms of opening the innings.
“I started scoring at age-group cricket and eventually got promoted up the order and gradually started opening the innings. It has been an exciting journey so far,” she says.
Shweta idolises Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana.
“I like Smriti’s attitude on the field. Even when things don’t go her way, she makes it a point to keep things simple and eventually bounces back. I love her confidence. I also like Jemimah Rodrigues,” she says. “But when it comes to captaincy, I loved the way Virat would handle things under pressure. I admire his aggression and also try to follow him…”
Shweta will get an opportunity to channelise what she likes about her heroes in her role as vice captain of the Indian side headed to the U-19 Women’s World Cup in South Africa next month. The national selection committee named her as Shafali Verma’s deputy for the inaugural edition of the tournament.
With just a month left for the T20 World Cup, India does not have much time, but Shweta says that the idea is to keep everyone fresh and ready for every situation, as seen by India’s choice to constantly rotate the playing XI in the ongoing series against New Zealand. Shweta has 56 runs from four innings to her name, and all the effort will be towards making a statement in Indian silks in South Africa.