It’s been more than 17 years, but Rumeli Dar still remembers that day with great interest. The Indian women’s team’s reaching the 2005 World Cup final in South Africa remains the most enduring memory of their 19-year international career which ended in an Instagram post on Wednesday. With it, she ended an era in Indian women’s cricket, which, not too long ago, saw the retirement of its perennial star Mithali Raj.
“It’s a very emotional moment for me, and it’s very hard to describe in words,” said Darr, 38. “It’s been a very long journey for me, but perhaps the most lasting memory is playing the 2005 World Cup Final. It was a historic moment in women’s cricket in India.”
Led by Mithali Raj, India went six matches unbeaten – including a tough match against Sri Lanka – before being tamed by Australia’s Belinda Clarke in the final. In the same year, the International Women’s Cricket Council (IWCC) merged with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the latter directing all member associations to develop their women’s wing. A year later, the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry took control of the women’s game – a move, Dar believes, driven by India’s dream of a World Cup.
“That (2005 World Cup) was a big moment in my career as it led to BCCI taking charge of women’s cricket. Things started to change after that,” she said.
“When I started playing cricket, the conditions of the pitches, the quantity and quality of equipment, the exposure, everything was sub-par. But we never let all these restrictions limit us. We could have just sit and messed about, but we thought it was better to work on things. We were happy with what we had. The change really started in 2001 when we first got our trainers and physiotherapists in. And then, after 2003, we started doing month-long fitness camps, which I started thinking about offerings.After acquiring BCCI, a lot of things started in the The improvement. I wouldn’t say women’s cricket is in a perfect place now, but as long as we’re headed in the right direction, I’ll be happy.”
“I’m glad people’s attitude toward women’s cricket is changing. Sometimes, change takes time, and that’s okay.”
Dhar also opted to return to the national team after a six-year hiatus in 2018 as another important flag base in her journey. She lost her spot on the side in 2012 due to a shoulder injury but quickly fell off the radar, although she continued to trade her local cricket trade, first for Rajasthan, followed by Assam and Delhi. Around the same time, I slipped into depression and thought about quitting the game.
“I came very close to being away from the game. I was sad and depressed. It took a huge effort from my family and friends to get me out of that stage. I don’t want to go into details, but it was not a great stage in my life. Returning to the national team from there required Some effort,” Dar recalls.
The call-up arrived after veteran Jhulan Goswami was injured in the third and final ODI match of the ICC Women’s Championship Series against South Africa.
“It was a very emotional moment for me, a personal victory rather than a professional success. It will always be a special memory, a special one. I was 35, ready to take off, depressed and suddenly I was playing India. A life changing moment,” she said.
“Me, Mithali and Jhulan, I can look back on our careers with great pride. I like to believe we have pushed the women’s game forward and put a lot of things in perspective for the next generation. Mithali’s legacy and Jhulan endure and the burden is on the new lot going forward. We have We inherited our passion from the previous generation. When we started, there was never any money in the game. We only continued it because of our love for cricket. We wanted to win every game we played to make things easier for the next generation.”
Ther has no regrets about her career; The two boxes she wanted to check were ticked last year when she scored a ton and grabbed a triple in domestic cricket. “I always wanted to score a hundred and take five wickets. I finally managed to hit three figures last year (against Hyderabad) and also took a triple (against Himachal Pradesh) even though I couldn’t take five for. So, I quit playing happily and without regrets. I know very well that I will leave the game in a better place than I inherited it.”
“What I will miss the most is the dressing room. The 2005 World Cup dressing room with Mithali, Golan, Himlata Kala, Nietu David, Anjum Chopra and Anju Jain was a pleasure to be with. Likewise, the dressing room with the younger guy. So much in 2018 was very special. This They are memories that I will always cherish,” concluded Dar, who is planning to build a career in coaching.