Meet the girl who made it to the international baseball meet.
In a country where cricket and the cricketers are owned in totality, other sports remained dumb in the darkness of the shadows cast by the English game.
Hockey also had to strive hard to remind us that she is our national game. Other games like badminton and tennis came into the limelight with the zeal the players displayed. Baseball also is one such game that remained silent amidst the roars of Indian cricket.
India And Baseball:
The baseball game was introduced in India by the Amateur Baseball Federation of India that was established in December 1983 with an aim to promote baseball in the country. The country's women's national baseball team is also controlled by the Amateur Baseball Federation of India. It represents the nation in women's international competition. The team is also a member of the Baseball Federation of Asia. The team also had to participate in the 2004 Women’s Baseball World Cup but withdrew just before the tournament. India made its debut in the Women’s Baseball World Cup in 2008. Several attempts are being made to make baseball famous in India. An 89-year old coach, VS Jagannadham, famously known as ‘Jagan Sir' has been giving his sweat and flesh to popularise many shadowed sports especially the hockey and baseball at Maredpally playgrounds (MPG) in Secunderabad.
MPG has produced 30 internationals, including seniors, juniors and sub-juniors. Young players like Noah and Nathan have played Little Leagues in Korea. A few women like BMR Vinila, Ramya Reddy played for India in World Cup 2004, Shaheen Begum in World Cup 2008. On this note, from the same grounds, there's another gem from Andhra Pradesh, Sai Ashritha Reddy, a cricketer turned baseball player who is carving a niche in the sport and is being an inspiration to the aspiring players out there.
From Cricket To Baseball:
In the year 2013, when Ashrita was pursuing her graduation, she used to play cricket in Hyderabad. During that time, one of the senior baseball players approached her and encouraged her to take up baseball. This is how she walked towards the baseball court. With her knowledge of cricket, it became easier for her to understand and learn the technicalities of baseball. She didn't take much time to hit the ball. She went to the selections where she hit the ball in the right way and BOOM! She got selected to the state team. Ashrita went on to represent Osmania University for the next three years at the All-India University Games. She then represented the state teams. She played for Andhra Pradesh for two times and represented Telangana once. Now the meaning of this is that the best players from these state meets shall be made a part of the national team. And who else? Ashrita's name was among the names in the national team. Slowly she made her way into the international as well. In 2016, Ashrita represented India and went to South Korea to play at the World Championships. The team managed to beat Pakistan out of 12 teams in the tournament. Later, the Indian team travelled to Hong Kong to participate in the Asian Championships in 2018.
A Master's Holder In English :
Ashrita, along with practising baseball to keep herself up in the sport, is also pursuing a Master's degree in the English Language. During the time when colleges were running before the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed, Ashrita used to switch between her college and training. Her day began at 5 AM with receiving the baseball training and then she used to be in the classroom by 9 AM to attend the lectures. The evening training began after college and she used to reach home at 8 PM. Once the lockdown is released, Ashrita hits the ground back and wishes to train herself harder than before.
Anything Is Possible With Dedication:
When women realise and put in their complete potential, then anything is possible. Ashrita also believes the same. She says that there is a dire need to create and strengthen a united team under a potential coach so that things will sooner get better. Players, according to her, should show selfless dedication and focus on the sport, then India would surely be recognised as an icon in Baseball.
Let's wish Ashrita and the entire women's team of Indian Baseball to come up with flying colours and let the nation's flag be hosted on the international stage.
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