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Titas Sadhu: a pacer propeling India to Asian Games Gold - GetBengal story

27 September, 2023 10:42:00
Titas Sadhu: a pacer propeling India to Asian Games Gold - GetBengal story

Titas Ranadeep Sadhu, popularly known as Titas Sadhu

People outside the sports fraternity in India usually distance themselves from women’s sporting events like football, hockey or cricket and are ignorant of the developments taking place in these sectors. Hence, they were jolted out of stupor when Titas Sadhu, a 19-year-old pacer from Chinsurah, Hooghly emerged as the new star for India in the ongoing Asian Games 2023 at Hanzghou, China on Monday (September 25). Sadhu bowled a magical spell and with her blend of pace and swing bowling, took three wickets for six runs that catapulted the women’s team to victory, defeating Sri Lanka by 19 runs and clench the country’s maiden Asian Games gold in cricket. This is the second gold medal for India at Asian Games 2023.

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur introduced Sadhu after off-spinner Deepti Sharma and pacer Pooja Vastrakar conceded 13 runs in the first two overs of the Sri Lankan chase. The right hand pacer bowled a devastating first spell, beginning with double wicket maiden and finished with superb figures of 4-1-6-3 to play a big role in restricting Sri Lanka to 97 for eight in 20 overs. She removed Anushka Sanjeewani with her first ball as the Sri Lankan opener provided a simple catch to Harmanpreet at mid off. New batter Vishmi Gunaratne did not last long as the fourth ball of the over, back of a length delivery, beat her defense to hit the off stump. She had an able ally in leg-spinner Devika Vaidya (4-0-15-1), who kept a tight leash on the islanders. Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3-0-20-2) and off-spinner Deepti Sharma (4-0-25-1) started off badly but were on target during the back-end as Indian women always looked in complete control. Sadhu’s opening spell made a significant impact on Sri Lankan chase. 

Sadhu got two wickets in her second over and then dismissed Sri Lankan Captain, Chamari Athapattu on 12 runs. She picked up three wickets in her four overs and conceded only six runs! Titas delivered 18 dot balls in her spell on slow wickets, setting the momentum of the match that gave India the boost required to win the game. The girl who made her international debut in the semi-finals round against Bangladesh then single-handedly, went on to steal the game away from Sri Lanka in the finals of the Asian Games 2023.

Former Indian captain and pacer Jhulan Goswami (nicknamed Chakda Express) is overjoyed and full of praise for the teenager’s consistently brilliant performance. Earlier this year, the first edition of the 2023 ICC Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup was held in South Africa. In the final match on January 29, held at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, India beat England by seven wickets to become the inaugural champions of the ICC Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup. In the match, Titas took two wickets for just six runs in four overs and 20 of them were dot balls. Her steady performance in these two finals proves that she is a big match player and she is here to stay, opines Goswami. Sadhu has a long way to go and she will have to prove her mettle as several home series as well as an upcoming series against Australia are in the pipeline. Her ultimate goal, at the moment, is to hold on to her form and gear up to play a winning game at the ICC World Cup finals. Although Goswami has played in multiple World Cup finals but the winners’ trophy has always eluded her. This gold in the Asian Games will give the senior team a boost to clinch the ICC Trophy this time. Many feel Titas is a worthy successor of Goswami.  

Earlier, India's women's cricket team narrowly missed Gold and had to remain content with the Silver medal instead at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. This time though, the girl brigade was far more motivated and determined to win.  

Sadhu’s cricket coaches Priyankar Mukhopadhyay and Debdulal Roy Chowdhury are extremely happy and proud of their ward’s performance at the Asian Games. Roy Chowdhury feels this fabulous performance is the result of following a steady regime. He feels his protégé has been consistent since the time she started playing cricket and has shown her class in the matches she played right from district level to state level and now the Gold medal at the Asian Games adds another feather to her hat. Her USP is her cool attitude. She is fearless and a quick learner, both qualities have kept her in good stead. 

Former cricketer Saradindu Mukherjee feels it is a matter of immense pride for the women's gold win in cricket in the Asian Games 2023. The stellar performances by Titas Sadhu and Richa Ghosh, both players from Bengal, are reason for celebrations indeed. 

Once this news reached the College Road house in Chinsurah, celebrations started. Born into a family of sports people and enthusiasts, Titas had taken to sports naturally from an early age like duck to water. Her father, Ranadeep Sadhu, a former athlete, runs a professional sports academy. He had a major influence on Titas during her formative years. She has a natural flair for sports and is a wonderful sprinter but she always wanted to be a swimmer before she decided to join cricket. Old timers of Chinsurah can still recall little Titas accompanying her father to the Chinsurah Rajendra Smriti Sangha Academy for training. 

She started playing cricket at the age of 13 and quickly rose up the rank. She faced failure at her first attempt to clear the trials for the Bengal squad and had to wait patiently to ensure her berth in the team. She missed the trials in 2018-19 when her school board exams were knocking at the door. She secured 93 per cent marks in her school leaving exams and then chose to follow her passion, cricket, seriously. The rejection and the long wait strengthened her determination further. Undeterred by impediments, Titas continued to work hard on honing her skills that eventually caught the attention of selectors. Finally, she earned a spot in the Bengal senior team at the age of 16 years. Since then, the right-arm pacer hasn’t looked back. Her exceptional performances for the state side ensured her spot in India’s U-19 T20 World Cup team earlier this year. Titas represents the Delhi Capitals in Women’s Premier League. She is seen as one of the finest prospects for pace bowling in Indian women’s camp.

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