ISHITAA GIDWANI: SPIRITED CRICKETER



To me, the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ means to play cricket with what your strengths are, as in, not trying to bring the other team down (sledging, bullying, etc) so that you have a slight advantage of winning. Also of course respecting the umpire's decision, because you know that if you try challenge his decision on the field, its only going to make matters worse for you and your team.



My Dad umpires a lot of matches in Hong Kong and there are only six women’s teams in Hong Kong so we are sometimes involved in the same game. Well, when I am bowling, if I am captaining, then I make sure to bowl from the side he is not standing on, and if I am not captaining, then I usually ask the captain to make sure I am not bowling from his end, although my captains usually put me on at the other end anyways!! But honestly, there have been a few times when I have had to bowl from his end, because he was the only umpire for that game, so no matter which end I bowled from, it would be his end. And, Dad will always give the batsman the benefit of the doubt when I am bowling....!! When I am batting, it’s the same....he'll give the bowler the benefit of the doubt. I don't blame him though, I mean the last thing Dad and I would want is for people to think it is unfair that my Dad is umpiring one of my games. So yes, he has almost always given a decision that is not in my favour!! My reaction!?!? Haha well, I obviously don't like it, but I respect it.

Having Dad being an umpire has taught me so many good things, one of them being that no matter how badly you disagree with the umpire's decision, you just smile and agree. After the game you can question him (politely), or just leave it at that. So I guess its the same when Dad's umpiring...on the field he's an umpire, not my Dad, so I would treat him just like any other umpire, and give him the same amount of respect.

When he’s been a selector of a team I’m in or may be in, he excuses himself from the discussion completely. Nevertheless, it’s great to have someone at home to talk to and learn from when we’re now both watching cricket. For seven hours.



Being U-19 captain made me a better player. It makes you think about others. When you’re a player you can just switch off at times, but as a captain you’ve got to make sure that the fielders stay where you want – they often don’t – and keep an eye on them at all times and it’s such a pain when you have to keep changing the field for left-handers and right-handers and big-hitters and blockers. I really enjoyed captaining and I hope I get to do it again.

I’m always wanting to learn new things!! I first look it up on youtube, to see the basics of learning that new technique, and then at the next training session I'll ask my coach for help so that I know exactly how to do it and he can correct me right away if I am doing something wrong! I won't lie....It takes A LOT of practice to get something new right. Bowling can be very creative, and with every new technique, you are changing angles, heights, etc, so it takes a lot of practice to perfect it. None of my cool techniques are near perfect yet. Once you finally master that technique you can't stop practicing it. I mean just normal bowling, every time I go out for summer holidays, and get back after about two-three months of no training, it is as if I have to learn how to bowl again!! I’m always wanting to learn new things, so something will come up which I’d be like...’wow I really wish I could do that’, then the whole process will start again!!



I’d love it if Hong Kong were good enough to play against the Indian women’s state teams. I’d love to use my degree to get a job as a sports psychologist or a coach or PE teacher or a personal trainer. I’d love it if we played more competitive cricket.

My role model player is Isa Guha (an Indian playing on the England Team). Why not Sachin or someone like that? Well I think men's cricket is a completely different game to women's cricket. So I can’t say I want to be like Sachin someday...but I can say I want to be like Isa some day!! She was the best bowler in the world at some point and also won the BBC Asian Network Sports Personality of the Year award.



I was a bowler who couldn’t bat to save my life before and was Number 11 for Hong Kong and the club. Now I’ve made two hundreds.

Some pictures by Iftekhar Haider

Related:
Ishitaa Gidwani and Mariko Hill: Winning for Hong Kong
Hong Kong Cricket Association

Filed November 18th, 2011