#KnowYourStars: Taniya Bhatia – A Quiet Achiever

“Every athelete has to get back from disappointments and start competing again”

Taniya Bhatia has lived this quote in her rise to the Indian Cricket team. She is a wicket-keeper and batswoman known for her agressive batting on the field. Unlike most of the wicket-keepers, she is a woman of few words. One would often find her lost in her thoughts sitting alone but when batting she lets all her aggression out.

Taniya was born in a family of wicket-keepers. Her father Sanjay and Uncle Vijay were stand-by wicket-keepers for Punjab in late 80s. Her father wanted her to be an all-rounder. But, Taniya’s interest was in wicket-keeping and her childhood coach also reaffirmed that she would be good in wicket-keeping. In a casual picnic game, her father saw her playing with his bat. Impressed by seven year old Taniya’s skill he enrolled her to cricket academy. Taniya’s family faced criticism for putting her in cricket which was not the norm in those days. But her father assured Taniya’s mother that in a matter of few years people will line up for interviews.

Taniya’s game was improving much faster. She moved to DAV senior secondary school under coaching of Sukhwinder Singh before being picked up by Yograj Singh who had faith in her abilities. She was the only girl in the boys academy but Yograj Singh made sure that she was treated no different than others. She attributes her mental toughness to her practice sessions in boys academy. Also as the boys in the academy were older, it helped her in faster reflexes.

She rose from academy to “India A” team quickly by making the most of every opportunity. She became the youngest girl to represent Punjab in U-19 at the age of 13. Her performances were getting better ever since she got into state team and found herself playing for “India A” only at the age of 16.

Then, she had almost two years of poor performances which costed her a place in “India A” as well as Challenger trophy team. She was on the verge of loosing a spot in state team too. More than that, she lost a confidence in her abilities and began to lose her interest in cricket and her fitness. But it was her parents’ and sister’s motivation that encouraged her to regain her lost confidence.

When Taniya was selected in Punjab U-19 team, her father had to relocate to Jalandhar due to his job. At that time, her mother, Sapna stayed back and made sure that Taniya’s cricket does not get affected. Right from abandoning family functions to taking Taniya to practice sessions, her mother influenced her life very much. Her father was a big critic of her game and often his strictness was a boost for her grooming as a focussed cricketer.

All the sacrifices became fruitful in January 2018 when Taniya debuted for Indian National team . She got her debut cap from her role model Mithali Raj. Before her debut, her father told her “aate bahut hain, teekte bahut kam hain’ (many come but only a few stick around). She knew that it was just to keep her grounded and she made sure that she doesn’t throw away opportunities. Having faced a low in her career before, she is now more determined to cement her place in the national side and working hard to make her father’s dream come true which is to be a captain of Indian team.

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