International Women's Day: 'People Don't See Women As Good Judges,' Says India's Youngest Woman Umpire Shubhda Bhosle Gaikwad

International Women's Day: 'People Don't See Women As Good Judges,' Says India's Youngest Woman Umpire Shubhda Bhosle Gaikwad

Shubhda, a mother of two, said that when she started officiating matches in 2013, people found it difficult to digest the fact that a woman can be a judge

Anamika PathakUpdated: Friday, March 08, 2024, 03:48 PM IST
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Shubhda Bhosle Gaikwad |

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): “People don't see women as good judges. An LBW decision given by a woman umpire raised eyebrows as players wondered whether she is capable of officiating a cricket match or not.”

This is an experience of India’s youngest woman umpire and the current sports officer of Jhabua’s Thandla College in Madhya Pradesh, Shubhda Bhosle Gaikwad.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Shubhda shares her journey and challenges with the Free Press Journal.

Shubhda, a mother of two, said that when she started officiating matches in 2013, people found it difficult to digest the fact that a woman can be a judge. “It is not their fault actually. Till then, they hadn’t seen a woman umpire. I am glad that things are changing now and the perspective of players towards a woman umpire has also changed,” she said.

'My father motivated me'

Born and brought up in Gwalior, Shubhda hails from a family of cricketers.

Before opting for umpiring, Shubhda has represented Madhya Pradesh team in Under-19 cricket. She was a part of the all women umpire team for 2022 Legends League.

Talking about her decision to switch to umpiring from cricket-- which is more lucrative, she said that her father motivated her to take up the meticulous job.

Shubhda’s father Ajit Bhosle is a cricket coach while her uncle Shrikant Bhosle is an ex-Ranji player. “Traditionally, parents ask their children to become an engineer or doctor. However, my father had a completely different approach. He said that sports contributes to overall development of a person,” Shubhda said.

Why umpiring?

Shubhda has completed her graduation in B.Ped from Gwalior’s Laxmibai National Institute of Physical Education. During her studies, she cleared level “0” of umpiring exam. Later, after clearing Level “1” in 2011, Shubhda became the youngest woman cricket umpire in India.

Shubhda is also a PhD holder in Sports Psychology and said that she took up umpiring after much deliberation as standing six hours on the field with full concentration is not an easy job.

“One thing about umpiring is that you don’t have to worry about not getting a wicket because someone else dropped a catch. It is all up to you, your responsibility and your decisions,” she added.

An RCB fan

On a lighter note, Shubhda said that her favourite team in both Women’s Premier League and Indian Premier League is Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), as she has developed enough patience being an umpire.

Sharing her future plans, Shubhda said that she is preparing to appear for Level “2” umpiring exam which will make her eligible to officiate both domestic and international cricket matches.

'Went to Oman for Legends League when my daughter was 1.5 years old'

Talking about how she balances her personal and professional life, Shubhda said that her parents, in-laws and her husband should take the credit for that. She got married in the year 2016 to Sujay Gaikwad and said that her husband has supported her a lot. “People say that behind every successful man there is a woman, in my case, I have had support from men in my life, be it my father, husband, or father-in-law.”

“My daughter was 1.5-years-old when I went to Oman for 17 days for Legends League. My in-laws and my parents took care of my children at that time. I consider myself very lucky in this regard,” Shubhda added.

A message for young girls

When asked about her message for young girls aspiring to make a career in sports, Shubdha said, “Girls should not bind themselves. They have the whole sky to conquer, all they need is to learn to fly. So keep trying to make your dreams come true,”

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