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  5. From playing with coconut petiole to starring for Mumbai Indians in WPL, know who is Sajana Sajeevan

From playing with coconut petiole to starring for Mumbai Indians in WPL, know who is Sajana Sajeevan

Sajana Sajeevan was always passionate about playing cricket but her family did not have funds. She once lost her house in Kerala floods in 2018. Now she has broke into the limelight after the opening night of Women's Premier League.

Varun Malik Written By: Varun Malik @varunm0212 New Delhi Published on: February 25, 2024 19:23 IST
Sajana Sajeevan, Mumbai Indians
Image Source : X Sajana Sajeevan.

Sajana Sajeevan broke into the limelight after her winning six sailed over the long-on boundary with her efforts finally getting rewarded for years of hard work. It was just a few seconds and a single stroke which made her earn recognition but the hard work for those seconds remains less known.

Sajana, whose father Sajeevan is an autorickshaw driver, hails from Mananthavady, a village in Kerala's Wayanad. She holds a degree in political science but was always passionate about playing cricket. But her family did not had enough funds to support her. 

"Our income was not really that big enough to fund her sporting activities and travelling for tournaments. But she was always passionate about cricket and used to play the game at the paddy field near our home with coconut petiole with her friends and relatives," Sajeevan told PTI.

"One day she met (former Indian cricketer) Gautam Gambhir at the Krishnagiri stadium here, and got an autographed bat. Seeing that we realised her passion for the sport. Elsamma Baby, the Physical Education teacher in the local government school too told us to encourage her sporting ambitions," he adds.

Once she lost her house due to floods in Kerala but never did she lose her willpower and passion for the sport.

In a video posted by MI, Sajana shares how things started turning well for her. "I did not have funds to travel. When I was selected to play for my district, I started earning money, 150 Rs per day as daily allowance. That was big money for me. Then, it went to 150, 300 and 900. I wanted to feel happy for my parents," she said in the video posted by the franchise," she said. 

Soon the days turned better and she was picked in the state U19 side and was also appointed the captain later. Later she also got an India A call-up. But she was upset when she was not picked in the WPL season 1.

"Sajana was so nervous that day and she did not even watch it (auction) on the TV. But she was a bit upset when she failed to attract a bid last year,” says Sajeevan. Sajana's coach K Rajagopal had a pep-talk with her and inspired her to keep going. 

"I told her not to get disheartened after that auction. If you keep performing then the chance will certainly come your way again. She is a strong girl, and it was just the case of keeping her focus on the game. She did that when there was hardly any cricket during the flood (2018) and Covid days. Her desire to achieve her goal is her strength,” he says.

For the second season, she was roped in by Mumbai Indians, one of the world's most renowned sporting franchises in the world. "She was so happy. She called all her friends and coaches to thank them. Sajana told us that she never expected to get a contract from Mumbai, the biggest team in the league," her father recollects.

The six to Alice Capsey helped MI start their tournament with a win and Yastika Bhatia terms her the 'Kieron Pollard' of the women's MI. "If you have watched Harry di (DC captain Harmanpreet Kaur) speak in interviews before, she mentioned that Sajana is a player to watch out for in this WPL.

"MI have faith in her and she is like Kieron Pollard of the women’s team. She has got that role, and she did really well, credit goes to her,” Yastika said in the post-match press conference.

She now wants an India jersey. "Sajana now says she wants to wear an Indian jersey soon like Minnu Mani (Indian cricketer from Wayanad, who played for Delhi on Friday). Hopefully, her dreams will come true," her father says.

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