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Sajeevan Sajana - Remember the name!

Last updated on 23 Feb 2024 | 08:34 PM
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Sajeevan Sajana - Remember the name!

Meg Lanning's Delhi Capitals were ready to celebrate a close victory, but then a 28-year-old woman from Kerala came and said, "NOT TODAY!"

Five runs. One ball. A Black sky. A white ball, and a never-ending wait to see where the ball lands. Fingers being chewed. Bums rising up from their seats in the sheer thrill of the moment. Mouths left agape. And then the Mangalam Chinnaswamy Stadium erupted. 

If you were near the Cubbon Park traffic signal right outside the Chinnaswamy around 11 PM, there might have been a huge roar from the stadium that would have made you stop your vehicle in the middle of the road. 

You see, a batter has just hit her first ball in the richest women’s cricket league for a six. A 28-year-old woman belonging to the Kurichiya tribe in Wayanad, Kerala, had just shown the world that dreams do come true. 

A girl who wasn't even aware of women's cricket’s existence for a large part of her childhood suddenly became a name that every women’s cricket fan in the country would have uttered today. They had forgotten about Shahrukh, who dropped some serious rizz just a few hours ago. 

All they knew was Sajana


Alice Capsey had done little wrong in the game until then. She had made a very foreign strip of green her own wonderland, scoring 75 off just 53 deliveries. In fact, she also had the rub of the green going her way, with Sajana dropping her in the 17th over. 

But that changed in the last over when Meg Lanning passed on the ball and asked her to defend 11 runs. Before that, Capsey had bowled only one over and had gone for 10. 

When asked why she chose Capsey to bowl the last over despite specialist spinner Radha Yadav’s overs being available, Lanning revealed that the longer leg side boundary was the reason she preferred the right-arm off-spinner over the left-arm one, as the ball would come into the right-handed batter, forcing them to hit towards the longer boundary. 

The plan worked brilliantly initially, as Pooja Vastrakar got caught out on the first ball trying to play the inside-out shot targeting the shorter off-side boundary. Amanjot Kaur came in and scored three runs in the next two balls. Harmanpreet Kaur then hit a four on the fourth ball of the over but got caught trying to hit it over long-on. Both batters ultimately perished, trying to clear the boundary. 

Lanning’s plan was working. One ball. Five runs. An uncapped Indian player on the crease. The win was within grasp. 

After all, when have Indian batters won the match by hitting a six when required? That also in a high-profile league, with the world watching. 

Nopes. Not happening. 

But then a tribal woman from Manathavady municipality of Wayanad came and said to Meg Lanning and her team, “NOT TODAY!”

Capsey bowled the last ball quite full. Pressure had finally gotten the better of the 19-year-old. However, the ball was still angled into the right-handed Sajana, and Harmanpreet had failed to clear the long leg side boundary against a similar delivery. 

But Sajana didn’t fail against the player she had already failed against once in the game by dropping her catch. 

All her life before this had prepared her for this moment. Years of training as an athlete in high school, where she threw javelins and ran middle distances, had given enough power to her big shoulders. As for the nerves, well, what are they?

She danced down the track and powerfully lifted Alice high, and long into the wonderlands outside the boundary. It was a six. Sa-jeevan Sajana had given jeevan (life) to Mumbai Indians when they were on a ventilator. 


यत्र प्रतिभा अवसर: प्राप्तनोति

Here, talent meets opportunity. 

That’s the motto of the IPL. When the WPL (or a tournament like this) was being proposed, and a large section of women’s cricket fans demanded it from the BCCI, providing opportunities to the wide-reaching talents in the country was envisioned as its key role. 

When you see someone like Sajana, coming from the distant southern corner of India, and rising out of a cesspool of social and economic problems to make it to the WPL stage, you feel somewhere that a talent has met the opportunity it deserved. The fact that she is the second woman in her tribal community after Minnu Mani (who plays for DC) to play the WPL proves that the tournament is doing its envisioned job. 

A few hours ago, a man from Sasaram, Bihar, made his Test debut for the Indian men’s Test team and impressed everyone. Now, it’s a daughter of an auto driver from Wayanad, Kerala, who’s making headlines. Talent has met the opportunity it deserves.

If this is not the democratisation of cricket in India, then I don’t know what is. 

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