Interview with Smitha Harikrishna
It was a pleasant surprise when Deepti got in touch with us on Twitter saying that her sister, ex India Cricketer Smitha Harikrishna was in town for a day and would love to speak to RCB Diva. I have interviewed plenty of cricketers but this was going to be my first interview with a woman cricketer and I was ecstatic! Smitha was an allrounder who was famous for her fighting spirit. Within a few minutes of meeting her I could see her love and passion for cricket, which still continues. She works with the ICC heading a program that involves teaching young kids cricket! Here are excerpts from my chat with Smitha.
Smitha tell us about your cricket journey? How did Cricket happen?
Well I have been a South Bangalorean all my life, and there were a lot of kids living on my street and I was the only girl. So I had to join in and play whatever the boys were playing and that just happened to be Cricket. After that I joined a cricket summer camp for girls, I must admit Cricket came naturally to me...I worked hard, excelled at it... the rest like they say is History!
Tell me what it’s like to wear the India blue for the first time?
It’s a brilliant feeling, which words can’t do justice to. The days that I played there was no money, fame and publicity; it was just the sheer love for the game. It was a dream come true when I wore the blazer and the cap.
How hard is it to make a break in the world of cricket?
Well it is hard, as hard as any other profession. It depends on how much you put into it , you have to stick to your work ethics and reach your goal, It’s like any other profession, perhaps cricket or sport takes a lot more commitment as it is not as lucrative as other careers so there is a lot more will power and hard work involved.
The game has changed a lot over the years, can it still be called the gentleman’s game?
I don’t think so, not any more, maybe at one point of time. Now that the girls have taken up cricket and people are more aware of Women’s cricket it can’t be called the Gentleman’s game. We should just call it cricket with no bias to gender!
Do you follow the IPL? And which team do you support?
Yes, actually I run a restaurant in Dubai and the TV is always on during a game, lots of people come in supporting different teams so it’s a lot of fun. I however am a true blue Bangalorean so obviously I support RCB. I am a diehard RCB fan.
Awesome! So what do you think about RCB and who is your favourite RCBian?
I think RCB is playing really well, I think they should start winning a few more away games! I really hope they keep their winning streak going! My favourite RCB player Chris Gayle, I watched the 175 on TV and I think he just did what every cricketer dreams of doing and that too with such ease!
Would a tournament like the IPL work for Women’s Cricket?
Well to be honest I am not too sure, but it well worth a try because now with women and men playing the T20 WC at the same time we have seen that people do come and follow and they are willing to spend time and energy supporting women. A women’s IPL would perhaps not be at the same level as the men at present but maybe in a few years it would pick up, you never know.
What do you think about RCB’s initiative to focus on Women in Cricket with RCB Diva?
I think it’s Fantastic, a brilliant initiative. Today if you look around the stadium at least 50% are women, everyone follows cricket and the IPL be it young girls, housewives or grandmoms! It’s Prime Time and for two months everyone talks about cricket.
A lot of men say the women don’t understand cricket! What do you have to say to that?
HaHa! I don’t think they have spoken to the right women, I know a lot of women, not players but a lot of my friends who love the sport and have a lot of knowledge about cricket, maybe not the technicalities but they do know a lot.
What is your message to young aspiring cricketers?
Just go out and play it! Simple. Cricket and sport teaches you a lot about life, how to win and lose, team work etc and cricket is a fantastic game, I have always loved it and still love it.So don’t think too much just go for it!