Anisa Bano Mehta of Kanasar, a small village in Barmer District of Rajasthan on India-Pakistan border, has been selected in the Challenger Cricket Trophy 19.
She was selected as a bowler in a state-level trial on August 27 at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur. Anisa will be the first girl from the district to play cricket for the state team.
Anisa's journey, so far, has been of the stuff that movies are made of.
Born with an interest in sports, especially cricket, Anisa would watch a match from the boundary of the cricket field. Being a girl, she wasn’t allowed inside.
In her village, people take care of cattle, sheep and goats for a living. On her way home from school, Anisa used to go to the fields to graze the goats. She has no idea how her love for cricket started but she always loved watching matches.
If there was a match in the village, she would sit near the boundary and applaud good performances. When he was in eighth standard she started practising cricket for two hours while grazing her goats.
Soon a confident Anisa was playing cricket with her brothers and other children in the village. This went on for 4 years. It was her brother who found out about the impending trials for the Challenger Trophy 19. He registered Anisa for the competition.
Earlier, she was selected in the top 30 players of the state. In the second trial, she joined the galaxy of Rajasthan’s top 15 bowlers.
Anisa being treated to ladoos by her father Yaqub Khan
Anisa says that as a child, her brother and father used to watch cricket on TV at home. "I sat next to them to watch the match. I also started practicing in cricket as a fan and lover of the sports."
Today being selected in the Rajasthan cricket team is no her dream come true.
Anisa's father Yaqub Khan is a lawyer by profession. He says that many times he persuaded Anisa to concentrate on her studies as there was no cricket ground and no facilities for sports in their village.
Sometimes the villagers also taunted him for allowing Anisa freedom to play with boys.
However, Anisa's determination was strong; there was no way she would give up cricket. She stands vindicated today.
Anisa Bano,16 is the youngest of her five siblings - three sister and a brother. None of her siblinging or any other member of the family has ever played cricket outside the district. She is currently studying at Kanasar Higher Secondary School.
Her brother Roshan said that she has reached the state team even though there is no environment for both studies and sports. She has achieved this position by virtue of her sheer hard work and self practice.
No doubt her family is so proud of their little Anisa.