IPL 2020: Meet Anuja, the head of Rajasthan Royals' COVID task force

This edition of the IPL is a new challenge for Anuja Dalvi. The 34-year-old is the sole female physio in the tournament, and is working with Rajasthan Royals.

Anuja Dalvi is enjoying her new assignment with Rajasthan Royals, “...especially with the franchise I have followed since the first year of the IPL."   -  Special Arrangement

Anuja Dalvi has been involved in the cricketing circuit for more than a decade, and she has worked with the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and has been associated with the Bangladesh Cricket Board in her long career.

But for the 34-year-old, this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a new challenge. She is the sole female physio in the tournament, and is in-charge of Rajasthan Royals’ COVID-19 task force.

But the Mumbai-based Dalvi is enjoying the new assignment. “I have been associated with national and international cricket for a decade now and by far this has been my most challenging assignment. The IPL is the pinnacle of world T20 (Twenty20) cricket and I find myself fortunate and privileged to be a part of it, especially with the franchise I have followed since the first year of the IPL,” Dalvi told Sportstar from Dubai, where the Rajasthan Royals team is stationed.

A student of John Gloster, the head physio of the Royals, Dalvi holds a master’s degree in musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy from the University of South Australia and has also been trained at G. S. Medical College at K. E. M. Hospital in Mumbai. And before taking up the IPL assignment, she was involved with the Pro Kabbadi League.

Anuja Dalvi.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Being assistant physio and head of the Royals’ COVID-19 task force, Dalvi has loads to take care of. “The role given to me is not what I do routinely. It’s more demanding and it involves a lot of administrative work and coordination,” she says. To ensure that things go smoothly, she needs to be in constant touch with the IPL authorities and the medical team of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). “Fortunately, I have the support of John Gloster, who is our team physio, and Dr Rob Young, who is the team doctor and has valuable experience of handling COVID in the UK. Yes, it is tough at times because I am being pushed to my limits as far as time is concerned or as far as tapping into other skills which are not routinely associated with sports physiotherapy,” says Dalvi, quickly adding that she is learning new things on the medical administrative side.

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The wife of Niranjan Pandit, a known name in sports medicine, Dalvi has been a pathbreaker, but for her, the key is to enjoy the job and keep learning. “I am also doing some player management as far as physiotherapy is concerned, and it has been a pleasant experience because they have been very comfortable around me,” she says. “Unless the media asks me how do you feel being a female support staff among the men, I haven’t really given this a thought. I am very comfortable and don’t find myself out of place.”

 

Russell, Hetmyer smash cameras

Andre Russell can strike the ball at 185.17km per hour. In the second week of the tournament, a camera placed at the nets had to bear the pain of being hit by a Russell rocket as the big-hitting Jamaican smashed the ball into it ahead of the clash against Mumbai Indians.

His compatriot Shimron Hetmyer is yet to bloom in the IPL, but he made his intentions clear at the Delhi Capitals nets by indulging in a similar act. He even gave a tongue-in-cheek reply to the media team of the franchise saying, “...no camera in my face.”

Virat Kohli honours COVID hero

India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli honoured Simranjeet Singh, a hearing-impaired senior assistant with the Punjab Home Guards, for raising ₹98,000 along with his friends for deaf and hearing-impaired people in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virat Kohli, who has 38.1 million followers on Twitter, temporarily changed his handle to “Simranjeet Singh,” and the superstar batsman is likely to wear a Simranjeet jersey in an upcoming match.

 

Kohli, who has 38.1 million followers on Twitter, temporarily changed his handle to “Simranjeet Singh,” and the superstar batsman is likely to wear a Simranjeet jersey in an upcoming match.