mid-day turns 41: How Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues got candid with Indian sports stars

Updated: Jul 13, 2020, 13:03 IST | Sundari Iyer | Mumbai

While India women cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana couldn't swing their blades in a competitive field, they were having fun by co-hosting virtual show Double Trouble

Double Trouble hosts Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana (top) with their guests, shooter Apurvi Chandela (above, left) and archer Deepika Kumari
Double Trouble hosts Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana (top) with their guests, shooter Apurvi Chandela (above, left) and archer Deepika Kumari

Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana

Cricketers behind YouTube show Double Trouble
Members of the Indian women's cricket team got the country's biggest sports stars to get candid on a one-of-a-kind chat show

Little J — aka Jemimah Rodrigues — is the complete athlete-entertainer on and off the cricket field. The India women's team cricketer has been busiest in the lockdown, switching the real field for a digital one.

Jemimah's video chat show on YouTube, Double Trouble, which she hosted along with teammate Smriti Mandhana was a sixer of sorts.

Jemimah Rodrigues (left) and Smriti Mandhana during a T20 International against NZ at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on February 6, 2019. Pic/Getty Images
Jemimah Rodrigues (left) and Smriti Mandhana during a T20 International against NZ at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on February 6, 2019. Pic/Getty Images

Double Trouble, the show Baseline Ventures produced, comprised 10 episodes. The duo's guests were not restricted to cricket, and included world champion shuttler PV Sindhu, tennis star Sania Mirza, hockey stalwarts Sardar Singh and PR Sreejesh, 21-time world champion cueist Pankaj Advani, shooter Apurvi Chandela, former World No. 1 archer Deepika Kumari, squash stars Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal. From cricket, there was Rohit Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal, Poonam Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jhulan Goswami and Shikhar Dhawan. Jemima's brother Enoch was editor on the show where the two cricketers bowled googlies and bouncers.

They talked about menstruation, parenting and motherhood. "There are some questions that we, as women athletes, face in real time and we wanted to talk about these candidly. Indians are still wary of talking about certain subjects openly. And if we don't, who else will?"

Jemimah wonders.

The Bandra resident's virtual forays have taught her loads. She says, "We did face technical issues including losing net connectivity. And there were some bloopers too. Like when I was supposed to introduce Smriti, I repeated my own name. And sometimes, our families waltzed into the frame. We had mock drills with the Baseline guys posing as our guests before the show." That they were on the other side of the fence was crystal clear to both. "This was a new experience for us. Normally, we are the ones who get interviewed. Here, we were asking questions, so it wasn't easy," Smriti adds.

All guests being special for them notwithstanding, we asked Jemimah to choose one. It was archer Deepika for her. "Her energy was infectious. She is fun-loving, bindaas. While I was doing my research on her, I thought it would be the most difficult episode, but it turned out to be the opposite." Smriti calls all their guests special, but lists Sindhu and Apurvi with Deepika as her personal favourites. "It was like having a normal conversation and cracking jokes among ourselves."

The word, season, is no stranger to a cricketer. There's progress attached to it; ambition and possibility too, so when Smriti stresses that Double Trouble will be back soon with another season (although she can't tell when), it doesn't appear like a mistimed stroke.

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