Dhanraj Pillay is impressed with Jemimah Rodrigues' skills

Updated: Apr 14, 2020, 08:26 IST | Sundari Iyer | Mumbai

Hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay praises Mumbai-based India cricketer Jemimah Rodrigues; says she could have made a mark in international hockey too

Jemimah Rodrigues, then eight, receiving her first hockey award from Olympian Dhanraj Pillay
Jemimah Rodrigues, then eight, receiving her first hockey award from Olympian Dhanraj Pillay

Hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay has hailed multi-talented India women's cricket star Jemimah Rodrigues after the teen cricketer recently recalled an interaction with the hockey star during her inter-school sports days.

Jemimah, 19, got nostalgic when one of her Twitter followers posted her picture receiving an award from four-time Olympian Dhanraj Pillay during her hockey-playing days in school.

"This was my first award ever! Had got the Promising Player Award in an inter-school hockey tournament. Was really special receiving it from Dhanraj Pillay Sir. Was 8 back then," Jemimah replied to the fan.

India batswoman Jemimah Rodrigues during an ODI against New Zealand at McLean Park in Napier, NZ last year. Pic/Getty Images
India batswoman Jemimah Rodrigues during an ODI against New Zealand at McLean Park in Napier, NZ last year. Pic/Getty Images

Impressive skills
Interestingly, even Pillay remembers the moment. "After presenting her that award, I remember, she continued to do well in hockey. I saw her play at the St Stanislaus and St Andrew's grounds in Bandra. I was very impressed with her skills. It's nice to know that she still remembers me and the award she received," Pillay told mid-day on Monday.

Jemimah chose cricket later and excelled in it, but Pillay said she would have been equally good in hockey too.

"She is a very talented girl. Going by her hockey skills, I have no doubt that she could have made her mark as an international hockey player too. She has proved that a hockey player can excel in any other sport. Her dedication and hard work have paid off," said the four-time World Cupper.

Pillay said residents of Bandra, like Jemimah, are fortunate to have access to various sporting avenues. "There is something about people who live in and around Bandra, which is a prominent sports hub. Former India hockey stars like Joaquim Carvalho, Merwyn Fernandes, MM Somaya, Viren Rasquinha, Marcellus Gomes, John Fernandes…it's a long list of players…all excelled in two or more sports," added Dhanraj, who is the Secretary of the Air India Sports Control Board (Western Region).

'I follow her career'
Pillay said he has also invited Jemimah to train at the Air India ground in Kalina. "I follow Jemimah's career whenever I get the time. I watched the women's T20 World Cup [in Australia] on TV last month and also followed the team's South Africa tour and other tournaments she featured in.

"Last year, I met her at an awards function at the Air India ground in Kalina and told her that she can use our ground for net practice any time.

"Being a sportsperson, I know how difficult it is for players to get grounds to train on in a space-starved city like Mumbai. She has made Mumbai and the country proud with her achievements and I hope she continues to play like this for years to come," Pillay signed off.

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