From bowling barefooted at boys in her Andhra Pradesh village to an India T20 cap, Bareddy has come a long way, making her farmer father and rest of the family proud
Bareddy Anusha (left) shows her bowling grip to coach Shahabuddin
Bandlapalli, a nondescript village in Narpala Mandal in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, has good reason to celebrate.
A farmer’s daughter—Bareddy Anusha, 20—is now an India player, having made her T20 debut against hosts Bangladesh in Mirpur on July 16.
With no television coverage, Anusha’s father Malli Reddy followed his left-arm spinner daughter’s progress on his mobile phone.
“My father had a cell phone and we ensured we could watch the live telecast. My parents were thrilled,” said Anusha’s brother Nageshwar Reddy.
Anusha returned with figures of 4-0-24-0 and disturbed the furniture of Bangladesh’s one-drop batswoman Murshida Khatun for four to end up with 4-0-20-1. She didn’t figure in the third match in a series, which India won 2-1.
1st player from Bandlapalli
Anusha is the first girl from her area to represent the country. “The village is planning to accord her a grand welcome on her return from Bangladesh,” revealed, Nageshwar, who runs a cold drinks outlet in Anantapur, 40 kilometres from their village.
Anusha was spotted at Anantapur Sports Academy in 2014. Her passion for the game amazed her parents and brother. The barefooted girl would bowl medium pace to the boys on the dusty roads of the village. Her school’s Physical Education teacher, Ravindra Singh noticed her talent when Anusha was in Class XII.
A talent-spotting visit by former Andhra Ranji all-rounder Syed Shahabuddin opened a new chapter for Anusha. “I could see the hunger in her eyes. We immediately decided to take her to Anantapur Academy,” said Shahabuddin.
Initial tough days
While Shahabuddin did not face any objection from Anusha’s parents, the budding cricketer was apprehensive about going to the academy. “She was a bit scared. But we convinced her that by playing with boys, she will be a better cricketer and become mentally stronger,” revealed Shahabuddin. At the academy, she bowled with proper shoes, availed of good equipment. She didn’t have any qualms in being a left-arm medium pacer with a height of 5 feet, four inches. Soon, she in the Andhra’s U-16 and U-19 squads.
Around this time, Andhra’s women’s cricket academy coach Sreenivas Reddy and Shahabuddin asked Anusha to switch from medium-pace to left-arm spin. “She was short and as the competition got tougher, it was difficult to get more swing to trouble the batters. So we asked her to become a left-arm spinner and she agreed,” said Sreenivas Reddy.
Results were forthcoming. “She is a good learner and works very hard to improve her skills. When COVID-19 struck in 2020, she would bowl in the nets alone for long hours,” said Shahabuddin.
Sreenivas believes Anusha is a steady batter and brilliant fielder at point: “She is very quick in the field and never allows the ball to go past her in the point region.”
Thanks to her improved performances, Anusha’s coaches and family felt it was only a matter of time that she would play for the country. “We knew she would play for India. We are so happy. She called us after her debut match from Mirpur and cried,” said Nageshwar.
Indeed, the field is vast and wide for Anusha to spread her cricketing wings. And with her agricultural family background she will know all to well that one will reap like you sow.