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PIOs in the team
With Indians being the flag-bearers of cricket in the land of baseball, it came as no surprise that almost the entire 15-member squad announced by USA Cricket for the inaugural ICC Under19 Women’s T20 World Cup, to be held in South Africa next month, comprised desi girls in America.
What did surprise many, though, was that nearly half the playing line-up consisted of Telugu girls, with Geetika Kodali leading the squad and Anika Reddy Kolan the vice-captain. The other players of Telugu origin are Bhumika Bhadriraju, Laasya Priya Mullapudi and Sai Tanmayi Eyyunni while Kasturi Vedantham has been named among the five reserve players. The sub-continent flavour of the team set the social media on fire, with one tweet reading: “USA Cricket team or India B team?” Another netizen commented: “The USA women’s cricket team is a more diverse representation of India than the Indian women’s cricket team. ”This is the first appearance by a US team in the U-19 women’s world cup, with former West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who also traces his roots to India, named as the head coach. The tournament will begin on January 14.
Skipper Geetika started playing the game at the age of11, before beginning her formal training when she was 15. All-rounder ‘Geetu’ or ‘Geets’ likes cricket as it’s a team sport. Vice-captain Anika discovered her passion for the game when she was nine and the family garage soon became her Eden Gardens. Niks’ (16) most cherished moment was when she struck her first half-century on Indian soil at the Karnataka Institute of Cricket in Bengaluru.