In a cricket-loving country, almost everyone is passionate about the sport. And women are no exception. This is a common scenario in Mumbai, where kids and men play cricket everywhere. Even professional girls' cricket teams are quite common. However, when it comes to common women's cricket teams, they are seldom heard of or seen. In Mumbai, it's remarkable to witness many women, especially those aged 40 and above, playing the gentlemen's game.
Goregaon's Sarvashreshtha Cricket Club
In Goregaon, a cricket academy named Sarvashreshtha Cricket Club is founded and run by a 46-year-old woman named Mayura Amarkant who is a digital strategist and writer as well. Established in 2019, the club currently boasts around 300 women players spanning various age groups. The club's smallest player is 19-year-old, and the eldest is an impressive 71-year-old.
Mayura shared the motive behind establishing a cricket club exclusively for women, stating, “I am a player of throwball and always participate in marathons. My husband, Amarkant Jain, is a cricket lover, and I turned towards cricket because of him. The purpose behind the cricket club is not to compete professionally or represent the country, it's to improve health and fitness. Our women players participate in cricket out of passion.”
What the players have to say
Talurata Sanghvi, a 71-year-old regular player at Sarvashreshtha Cricket Club, started playing cricket around 5 years ago. She expressed her passion, “I like bowling and taking wickets. I don't take runners, My family supports me a lot, my husband and two sons support me in playing cricket. We have a joint family, and every member likes cricket. Cricket is everything to me, and my favourite player is Virat Kohli.”
Another player, Aartie M, a 44-year-old interior designer, joined the club six years ago to incorporate exercise into her routine. She said, “I want to do exercise through cricket, and I was eager to understand the cricket game well. My family supports me a lot. I just want to give a message to women that keep two hours for yourselves, this is important, and know yourself. Due to cricket, I know myself better now.” Aartie, who stays in Mulund and travels to Malad to play cricket, emphasises the importance of self-care for women.
Deeya Sanghvi, a 19-year-old star player, has grown with Sarvashreshtha Cricket Club and is now enrolled in Mumbai Cricket Club for seasonal cricket, continuing her training for further growth.
Focus is on the game, not gossip
In 2019, Mayura played with a cricket club, captaining the winning team. Inspired, she started a WhatsApp practice session group, which eventually evolved into the Sarvashreshtha Cricket Club. The club has five coaches and one mentor. Every Saturday and Sunday from 6.30am to 9.00am, these women play cricket in various places in Malad with tennis balls. The club organises an internal tournament every month-end and hosts an award function. The club fee is Rs 250 for every session.
Mayura concluded, “This is a gossip-free environment. In our club, women just enjoy cricket, and their focus is on the game. We attempt to involve their families in award functions, so their families are also supportive of them. Every Saturday and Sunday is like 'Sab Kuchh Turf' for these women players.”