Sneha Deepthi, who was just 16 years and 204 days when she first played for India in a T20I. Known for attacking game, Sneha is the first cricketer from the Andhra women’s cricket team to score a double century and a triple century in a senior women inter-district match.
In an interview with Female Cricket, Deepthi told about her journey. “I was around eight years old when I started playing cricket. Actually, seeing my younger brother play the sport, I developed an interest in the game. My father used to train my brother. The father-son duo practiced on the ground. The ground was big which meant there was a lot of running around to do to fetch the balls. So my father decided to take me along at least to get the balls.”
“After a few days of just running to return the balls, I finally expressed my disappointment to my father, who could also clearly see that I was not too happy with what was going on. My father then offered me batting. That is how I started hitting the balls hard, not in vengeance, but to make myself feel good. Back then, we had no nets. To get nets, my father approached the fishermen. They helped him with the same.”
“The first net that we used for practice was stitched by my father. Practice with father and brother went on for some time and finally in 2003, I joined a summer camp for cricket. I was the only girl there however it didn’t deter me. Mornings I went to the summer camp and in the evenings I had a practice session with my father. Till 2007, I trained under my father. In 2008, when Andhra Cricket Association, announced a camp, I went there gleefully. Till that time I had never seen so many girls playing cricket.”
“Right in the beginning, two groups were made, Group A, where all the state players were there and Group B was for beginners. Initially, I was in Group B, but after my first net session, in which I showed my batting skills, I was promoted to Group A. In my very first year, I made my way into the Andhra state team. I was a part of the U-19 teams. After playing a match-winning knock of 36 not out against Punjab, I was selected for the senior state team. Till 2014, I played for Andhra. I mostly opened the batting.”
About memorable innings
It was in 2014-15. We (Andhra) were in the Plate Group. After doing well in the league matches, we had qualified for the semi-finals. We were set up against Madhya Pradesh. The wicket on which we played was damp and scoring was very difficult. Being an aggressive batter by nature, I had to undergo a paradigm shift in my batting approach. I realized that scoring runs was not going to be easy.
For the first 18 balls, I could not get off the mark. However, I didn’t lose confidence. I knew I had to be there for my team to reach the finals. I stood there and waited for my opportunity to score big. At the end of the innings, I had a score of 46, which steered my team home. We were into the finals. That year, we went on to win the championship. Now when I look back, I realize the importance of that innings. Since then we have been in the Elite Group.
About double and triple hundreds in district level
In 2013, I scored 203 not out against East Godavari in a senior women inter-district match. It felt amazing. Though I have always been an aggressive bat, I did not imagine that I would achieve such a feat. A couple of years later, I made 350 against Srikakulam in a league match of ACA North Zone inter-district women’s tournament. This is the highest individual score by a women cricketer for Andhra Cricket Association (ACA). I was batting alongside my younger sister and she kept on motivating me to score those big runs. Those two innings are still fresh in my mind.
About India debut
The day when I got to know about my India selection, I was playing a U-19 match zonal match. For that match, I don’t know why, I asked my father to be there. He had come to see me. I scored 45. Honestly, I was expecting an India U-19 call, but was taken by surprise when I heard my name being announced for the senior national team.
It was an emotional moment for me and my father. That day, my father’s words, “Sachin made his India debut at the age of 16” rang loud in my ears and I was happy that I was able to keep my word, because to my father, I had replied, “Even I will do it.”