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WPL 2023: Dhoni, Gayle and Sehwag are my idols, says UP Warriorz's Kiran Navgire

Mumbai, March 2 (IANS) Attacking batter Kiran Navgire has proven her ability as a big-hitter over the course of her career, especially in the Indian domestic circuit.

Navgire is also the first Indian cricketer to score more than 150 runs in a T20 match. Her inspiration for the prowess, seen from her knock of 69 for Velocity in the Women’s T20 Challenge at Pune last year, wasn’t surprising, as she idolises MS Dhoni, Chris Gayle and Virender Sehwag.

“I only followed MS Dhoni and didn’t watch many others, but I did watch Chris Gayle and Virender Sehwag. These three players have been my idols in my cricket journey,” she said in an episode of ‘Know Your Stars’ on JioCinema.

The 27-year-old from Solapur didn’t envision herself as the upcoming star she is now, excelling in athletics through her formative years. However, the 2011 Men’s World Cup victory by India on home soil led her to shift her focus to cricket.

“Watching India win the 2011 Men’s Cricket World Cup, there was one massive name on the team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I started following him in 2011 and I didn’t even know that there was something called women’s cricket. I watched men’s cricket and played with boys in my village and started liking cricket.

My father is a farmer and our family background wasn’t good enough to provide me with equipment. But I knew I liked hitting sixes and told my coach that I will continue athletics, but I want to play cricket as well,” she recalled.

In the last two years, Kiran has taken massive leaps and made her T20I debut for India on tour of England in September 2022. She revealed what Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana had to say to her after her state-level debut in 2018.

“My first ball in my state-level debut went out of the ground, so Mithali didi complimented my strength and told me I could succeed in cricket. Smriti Mandhana was also there, and she told me that if I worked on improving my skills, I could play more cricket. Mandhana and Raj are the Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar of women’s cricket,” the batter said.

Though Kiran hasn’t been in the national scheme of things of late, she is now with the U.P. Warriorz for the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL). She expects to benefit from the tournament, familiarising herself with the way international cricketers play.

“Many girls like me are very excited because we get fewer matches to play in for domestic ODIs and T20s. This is a great platform for women to play against and alongside international players to learn and develop new routines,” she concluded.



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