Jemimah Rodrigues © Photo Courtesy Hemimah Rodrigues Instagram Account
Jemimah Rodrigues © Photo Courtesy Jemimah Rodrigues Instagram Account

India Women announced their ODI squad for the South Africa tour, and Jemimah Rodrigues has made the cut. Ignored by cricket clubs at an age of 4, the lanky Jemimah will soon be seen donning the blue jersey. She has been inclined to cricket since the age of 4. Her father Ivan had wanted Jemimah to take up cricket, while she drew inspiration from her brothers as well. Ivan supported her in every phase and coached her.

Jemimah’s success story began from Under-19 inter-state One-Day competition held in November when she scored 178 against Gujarat. She then went on to notch up a 163-ball 202 against Saurashtra which was her shot to fame. She was the second cricketer in U-19 limited-overs cricket to slam a double-century, after Smriti Mandhana. “It is my dream to play for India,” a thrilled Jemimah had told CricketCountry at that point.

Jemimah moved a step closer to turning her dreams into reality when she was selected for India A. She excelled here as well, and finished as the second highest run-scorer of the tournament with 63 runs from 2 matches. Jemimah upped the ante in Women’s Challengers Trophy she scored total 179 runs from 3 matches at 59.67.

Jemimah Rodrigues: The next big name in women’s cricket?
Jemimah Rodrigues: The next big name in women’s cricket?

Jemimah’s opening partner Punam Raut led the run-scorers’ list while Smriti finished second. The two, along with Jemimah, have made the cut for the South Africa tour.

Jemimah expressed her excitement on being selected in the Indian squad to CricketCountry: “My dreams have come true. I have been working for years to reach this stage.”

However, India Women would have an opener’s conundrum with Smriti, Punam and Jemimah all in form, backed by a solid middle-order. Smriti had an excellent start to the World Cup. Punam had a splendid 2017 in limited-overs cricket. However, Jemimah is open to play at any position as per the team’s demands: “I am open to wherever the team demands me to play. Ultimately we are playing for India. Of course, Punam and Smriti are experienced as openers.”

Jemimah and Punam had a great run batting together in the Challengers Trophy. They stitched two century partnerships for India Green. In the first match they added 139 while in the second, another 112. “Being from Mumbai, I have never got an opportunity to play alongside her. She plays for Railways. Playing with her in the Challengers Trophy was a wonderful experience. In the first match I was nervous, but she guided me at every stage. She boosted my confidence. She shared her experience with me as she has faced the opponent bowlers on several occasions,” Jemimah lauded Punam.

The South Africa tour will kick off from February 5 at Kimberley and Jemimah has some game plans set in place: “I just need to get better with my game. I have to work harder and practice as per the conditions. The pitches are more bouncy and suitable for pacers.”