Gongadi Trisha was already a prodigy in age-group level cricket, having played U-19 level for Hyderabad as a 12-year-old. Now, at 16, she has developed into a dependable all-rounder, opening the batting and bowling. Her contribution was crucial to India B winning the Women’s Under-19 Challenger Trophy on November 7.
The teen was the player of the match in the final, where she scored an unbeaten 78* and took a wicket. She was also the highest run-getter in the tournament, where the pick of India’s best from the inter-state Under-19 One-Day Trophy play.
“It was a good experience I enjoyed playing and got some good scores, one hundred and two fifties and won the trophy. We are playing Under-19 cricket after a long time so it was good,” Trisha told Scoll.in from Jaipur after her trophy-winning feat. She made 260 runs in four matches including 158-ball 112.
Trisha’s Under-19 Challenger Trophy stats
After having no age-group women’s cricket due to the pandemic wipeout in 2020, it was a good return for Trisha and other players at the level. This tournament becomes an even more important event considering cricket boards are in the process of building a women’s Under-19 squad with an eye on the inaugural World Cup in the category announced by ICC.
While the official women’s U19 World Cup has been delayed several times and pushed back to 2023 due to the coronavirus pandemic, this U19 Challenger is an important starting point.
This season, the dates for the women’s Seniors One Day Trophy and Under-19 Challengers for women clashed and Trisha went for what could be her final year in U-19 cricket with the idea of being named in India probables.
“I went for seniors but then I got a call for juniors and played because it is for the probable squad,” she said. “We may have a World Cup and hopefully it happens.”
Right now there is no consolidated India U-19 team, just at state level teams from where the best players were selected for four teams – India A, B, C, D – for the Challenger Trophy that Trisha’s Team B won. Coaches of the state-level semi-finalists were made coaches of the four Challenger teams.
There are rules that state a junior player can compete at the U19 level only four times, a clause that takes a whole different meaning when you started playing at the of 11. This was her fourth season (2016, 2017 and 2018) having played at the senior level in 2019-20.
In the time, Trisha has trained with the National Cricket Academy twice, first as one of the top junior players in the country and then at a special camp for spinners where the likes of Radha Yadav and Harleen Deol were also present. While there is no centralised structure for women’s cricket yet, Trisha mentioned that both the quantity and quality of competition is getting better.
“There are many good players coming up now. The tournament also had the best of India players and it was very competitive,” she said. Her India B captain Anushka Sharma, Saumya Tiwali and Roshni Kiran were some of the players she named to watch out for.
Sharma was second highest in both the top run getters and wicket takers chart at the Challenger Trophy while Tiwari was the second highest run scorer. The highest was Trisha, a jump in form after not having the best of outings in the inter-state tournament with the bat. She had a terrific show with the ball then.
Trisha describes her batting style as that of a classical opener.
“We have to play straight, with a straight bat in the V as an opener. The aerial shots can come after settling in or later in the match,” she said, adding that her favourite shot is the drive.
The 16-year-old’s bowling action is now fully developing into a quick, unreadable spinner, a la Anil Kumble in her own words. She may not have gotten many wickets in her recent tournament but an economy rate of 2.16 having bowled 31 overs in four matches tells what an asset her unique action is.
When Scroll.in had profiled Trisha in 2017, she was a budding all-rounder who was singled out for her potential by many around her, including outgoing India men’s fielding coach R Sridhar.
She still continues to open the batting and often the bowling too, and bowls the full quota of overs. Only 16, she has built up her fitness and endurance under the guidance of her father, who is also a gym trainer, giving it almost as much time as cricket skills. It’s a sign of how much of a complete new-age player Trisha is aiming to become.
“In the morning, I practice from 6.30 to 12 noon, then I rest till about 3 and then in the evening, I alternate between camp and fitness. I train with Iqbal, my personal coach, at the Iqbal Cricket Academy in the morning and then St John’s academy in the evening,” she said describing her daily routine.
The teen said her cricket training didn’t stop during the lockdown either.
“I used to practice in quarantine also and stayed in touch with the game, we had some space in my grandmother’s house in Bhadrachalam and I trained there,” she said.
It is that sort of dedication that has seen Trisha catch the attention so early in her career. If recent performances are any indication, she continues to be on the right path.