IND-W v ENG-W: Shubha’s Progress to India Honours a Marathon Rather than Sprint

Shubha Satheesh
Shubha Satheesh (Source: BCCI Women/X)

There is always a touch of calm attached to the planned city of Navi Mumbai. From Central Park to Joggers Park and Nerul Lake, the serenity of the place is unmistakable. That kind of placid calmness was visible from the time Shubha Satheesh took a leg-stump guard and patted her helmet  before taking strike on her India debut at the DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Shubha launched a sublime square-drive while facing only her second ball in Test cricket. More than delving deep into the technical aspects of the game, it was the way she brandished the willow that caught the eye – a shot played with a heady mixture of style and excellence.
There were some jangling nerves on display too as that fluent shot was followed by a couple of false strokes. But she soon regained her composure, essaying a languid off-drive off Kate Cross. Shubha’s exhibition of driving through the off side didn’t end there as, when Cross was reintroduced into the attack, she caressed one straight down the ground to complete her maiden Test fifty in a mere 49 deliveries.
One of the salient features of the left-hand Shubha’s quick-fire half-century was her ability to pick the length early against the spin duo of Charlotte Dean and Sophie Ecclestone. When it was slightly shorter in length, Shubha calmly rocked back to crunch the cut or punch through covers/ When it was too full and drifting down the leg side, she brought out the sweep shot from her quiver.

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Just a brief look at the highlights package, and it would feel as if Shubha’s career has been a breeze so far. But in reality, her story has been akin to running a marathon, where she had to persevere for long periods to reach the finish line. Shubha made her senior debut for Karnataka at the age of just 13 against Andhra way back in November 2012. It took her six years and 22 matches to notch up her first 50-plus score in List A cricket.
During the 2020-21 season, she finally stamped her class by aggregating 346 runs at an average of over 86 in the 50-over domestic competition. Last month, she went on to accrue fine hands of 99 and 49 for India A against India in a four-day game, and that was instrumental in winning her a call-up to the Indian set-up.

“It’s been quite a journey for me because I have been in the domestic setup for long, and getting an India call-up was just like living a dream sort of thing,” Shubha said at a press conference. “I didn’t really think about proving (myself). I just had to play good cricket. That’s all I know, and that’s all I believe in.”
So, is Shubha a complete package at the age of 24? Perhaps not. During the later part of her innings, she was troubled by Lauren Filer’s short deliveries. England had employed Plan B after failing to dislodge Shubha with Plan A, of bowling full from round the wicket. It adds a layer of intrigue as to how England would go about bowling to Shubha in the second innings.
Incidentally, Shubha’s idol is the Kannada actor Dr Vishnuvardhan. The legendary actor had a long innings in the film industry, spanning almost four decades. On a rather pleasant morning in Navi Mumbai, Shubha showed enough signs that she could follow in the footsteps of her idol and have a successful career in her chosen profession.

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