Indian woman cricketer Rajeshwari Gayakwad's mentor father not around to see her rise

Jul 17, 2017, 14:20 IST | Bipin Dani

Rajeshwari (left) with late father Shivanand and sister Rameshwari
Rajeshwari (left) with late father Shivanand and sister Rameshwari

Rajeshwari Gayakwad's family members in Bijapur (Karnataka) and Bangalore are sad that her father Shivanand Gayakwad couldn't witness the match-winning performance of the 26-year-old against New Zealand in the Women's World Cup match at the County Ground in Derby on Saturday. Playing her first match of the tournament, the left-arm orthodox spinner picked up five wickets giving away just 15 runs in 7.3 overs as India went on to beat the Kiwis by 186 runs and make it to the semi-final.

Force behind Rajeshwari
"Her dad was a force behind our children's sporting careers. Sadly, he did not live to watch her best performance yesterday," said Rajeshwari's mother Savithri, speaking from Bijapur, where she watched the match with her two sons Kashinath and Vishwanath on Saturday.

Also read: Indian spinner Rajeshwari initially wanted to be a fast bowler

Interestingly, cricket was not Rajeshwari's first love. She was an accomplished javelin and discus thrower; also a volleyball player. But she switched to cricket on her father's insistence. In fact, sport runs deep in the Gayakwad family. The youngest daughter Rameshwari is a state level cricketer in Karnataka and has also played for India Green. The eldest daughter, Bhuvaneshwari, is a hockey player and one of the brothers, Vishwanath, is a badminton and volleyball player while the Kashinath is a tabla player.

Proud moment for all
"Shivanand had a massive heart attack while watching an IPL match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium a few years ago. Rajeshwari and Rameshwari were with him. He would have been overjoyed with her performance on Saturday," the mother added.

"It is unfortunate that our dad is not here to watch this match but we are sure that his wishes and blessings are always with us," both sisters, speaking from Bangalore, said.

"It is a proud moment for all of us and we are happy," Kashinath, said. "It is an ICC tournament and even if my sister has not bagged the best player award we are happy because we won the match and India have made it to the semi-final of the tournament," Kashinath added.

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