Diana Edulji: When Srinivasan told Diana Edulji, ‘If I had my way, I would stop women’s cricket’

In the year 2011, when India won the World Cup, around that time BCCI also got a new chief. N. Srinivasan had become the new boss, there was a rush of people congratulating him in the BCCI office. One of them was Diana Edulji, she also did N. Congratulated Srinivasan and meanwhile the discussion started regarding women’s cricket. In the same conversation, Srinivasan said that if I had my way, I would stop women’s cricket, this statement hurt Diana. A few years later, when the Supreme Court removed Srinivasan from the post of BCCI Chief and in his place a committee was formed to run the board, Diana Edulji was included in that committee.

In the middle of the World Cup, good news came from ICC for Indian cricket. ICC inducted two Indian cricketers into the ICC Hall of Fame. One of them is Diana Edulji, if we calculate the records and go by bookish knowledge, then she is a former woman cricketer, who received Arjun Award, Padma Award and after retirement from cricket, she worked for cricket administration. But it would not be right for Diana Edulji to talk only about books.

Cricket Committee

Supreme Court had formed a committee to run BCCI (file photo)

There are some players or people with whom history moves together. Diana Edulji is the pillar of Indian women’s cricket. There was a railway colony in Colaba, Mumbai, where Diana’s father had got a house, he was an officer in Western Railways. Diana lived there, now girls were not allowed to play cricket. Or we can say that not many girls played cricket, so Diana used to play only with the boys playing there. This is where Diana and cricket started. This is also special because after this, women’s cricket in India was also given a name.

During this time in 1971, a club was formed in Mumbai, which was working for women’s cricket. This was the country’s first women’s cricket club, Diana Edulji was a part of it. That means it was now clear that his career was going to remain cricket only, so gradually he started climbing the ladder of cricket. Team India’s turn also came, the Indian women’s team played its first Test in 1976. Diana was also playing in that match. Amazingly, Diana Edulji got injured in the very first match and her teeth were broken. But Diana’s story had just begun and it kept moving forward.

This was the era when women’s cricket had no father, that is, whether the match took place or not, it did not matter to anyone whether someone watched or not. That’s why in her career of 20 years, Diana Edulji could play only 20 official Tests, she has only around 100 wickets in her name in Test and ODI combined. But with Diana Edulji, every story does not stop at just statistics, rather she is ahead of every story.

Click: This cricketer’s teeth were broken in the very first match

Because Diana Edulji’s records have also been played with. This is because earlier ICC and women’s cricket board were separate, later when the merger happened, the earlier match was declared unofficial and all the old records were deleted. Diana fought more for women’s cricket than she fought for herself. When she was a railway officer, she arranged for permanent jobs in the railways for women cricketers so that they could have a source of income.

Today when we see players like Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana making waves. Then we must remember the struggle of stalwarts like Diana Edalji. And this is the reason why ICC has also appreciated this contribution and Diana Edulge has been given a big honour.

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