With an unbeaten double century (202 off 163 balls) in Women’s Under 19 one-day match, Mumbai’s Jemimah Rodrigues made heads turn on November 5. The 17-year-old opener was also involved in a 300-run partnership for the second wicket with S Raut as she plundered runs off the Saurashtra attack.
Earlier in the tournament she had attacked the Gujarat U19 bowlers, scoring 178 off 142 balls to set-up the match for her team, but missed out on the double ton.
“I basically play an attacking game. But yesterday it was important for me to stay and play full fifty overs for my team to win and do well,” she said while describing her batting.
Speaking about her partnership with S Raut, she said, “We are good friends so that helps us in our coordination. Also, we understand each other’s game really well.
Speaking about the Saurashtra attack, she said, “The attack was good. Initially, it was little difficult. There was bounce and movement and one of the pacers was bowling really well. So, our plan was to play that pacer out and get runs from the other end. Initially they were bowling pretty well. And we were playing on the merit of the ball.
Describing the moment she got to her double century, she said, “Raising the bat and helmet after the double century was a really good feeling. It was the first time I had scored a double century and that too in front of my parents which made it even better.”
Her father, Ivan, who has been working with her throughout said, “Against Gujarat, she had scored 178 after which I told her, ‘no problem this time you missed (200) in the next game you can make up for it. We don’t pressurize her. My advise to her is to play according to merit of the ball.
“She played a sensible innings here (against Saurashtra). An opener gets to play about 150 balls on an average, so she has to pace her innings, which she did well. Against Gujarat she got out hitting. She had to do that with few overs left. In this match, she got the last 40 runs mostly by rotating the strike and running twos and threes really hard. In between she got a boundary but all ground strokes. She accelerated the innings well after 100-104 few uppish shots and then accelerated her innings,” he added while reflecting on his daughter’s innings.
The youngster who started playing for Mumbai at the age of 12-and-half years says, “I started off as a medium-pacer then during one of the selection matches, I went in to bat at No 6 or 7 and got a good partnership. I hadn’t scored much (individually) but supported a senior player during the match. So, then the next match immediately I got promoted to one down (No 3) so from there it all began. Then we started working more on the batting too. She now bowls off-spin.
Rodrigues, starts her day with the gym training followed by practice. Her father says that the girl’s hockey training has helped her in cricket as well. “Like cricket, hockey too requires power, footwork, wrist power, stamina which has benefitted her cricket, especially the bending...the hockey training running on the shore, road-running and all those activities have helped her.”
Rodrigues, who also played basketball and football initially later, opted to play hockey and cricket competitively. Although, her focus is more on cricket, at this point, she still plays hockey whenever time permits.
A keen sportswoman, Rodrigues took to cricket by playing with her elder brothers. “She is enthusiastic about any game. Born to play; likes to play,” says Ivan. From playing alongside her brothers to playing club matches with boys’ teams has helped her develop her game. The guidance and support of coaches – Sanjay Gaitonde at the MCA, Prashant Shetty at the MIG club is helping the young cricketer, her father mentions.
The family shifted from Bhandup to Bandra when she was in the third standard for better access to facilities and grounds and from there on it has been a journey that the parents and the daughter have embarked upon together. “My parents were really happy, proud of me and were overwhelmed. All the hard work and sacrifices paid off. It was one of the best moments for them,” Rodrigues says while looking back on one of the best moments of her short career so far. She also thanks God. “Without Jesus Christ’s blessings, I couldn’t have done this,” she concludes.