She was a medium-pacer back in her cricketing career that saw her play for the Indian national team. But in life, Snehal Pradhan is what one calls an all-rounder. The 36-year-old, with six One-Day Internationals and four T20I caps for the national team, has done it all, on a journey that has surprised even herself.

An international cricketer turned sports writer, then a YouTuber to a commentator, Pradhan is now navigating the world of sports administration as the Manager of Women’s Cricket at International Cricket Council.

Almost entrepreneurial in spirit, but backed by the substance of an academician, Pradhan has had a ring-side view for what has been an eventful few years for the women’s game in general and Indian women’s team in particular.

In an interaction with, facilitated by ICC, we trace the milestones in her career, the reasoning behind the decisions she took, how the game has changed in that time, and what led her to this role at the ICC.

Excerpts from the interview:

From being a cricketer to a sports writer, a content creator, broadcaster and now, as the Manager of Women’s Cricket at ICC, have you had a chance to look back and wonder, ‘Wow, that’s been some journey?’ How much of it has gone per plan and how much of it has surprised you?

I think most of it has surprised me for sure. You know, at the time, when I was playing cricket and writing occasionally for a few websites, I never thought that I’ll be writing full time. When I was writing full time, I thought ‘Okay, maybe this might lead to commentary’ but I never had any fixed path. That just happened organically. At no point in my career did I ever think I would become a YouTuber. And I never had any ambitions or visions of working at the ICC or anything like that. I knew I wanted to be connected to the game and work in cricket and that was the general hope for how my career went. But I never really planned this so it’s a surprise for sure.

In the period before just moving to Dubai and taking up this role, I spent a little bit of time looking back. And just seeing the amount of positive emotions that I was receiving from people around me just how proud my family was about the fact that this ICC opportunity had opened up and they said, ‘This is exactly how we hoped things would work out for you.’ And just the amount of positivity I was receiving from people who I told that I’m going to be taking up this role...some of the comments really blew me away.

They also gave me a sense of the responsibility because it’s a very critical time for women’s cricket. And the way people responded to news of my appointment, even once it came out on social media on LinkedIn, it was heartwarming and at the same time slightly scary. This is a really critical time, and we cannot get this wrong so we have to do a good job.

You mentioned that all of this was organic and gradual. But even when you decided to pursue YouTube, what did you think the market needed, what kind of content was lacking and what did you think you needed to cover?

Back then the market was not so saturated, which tells you how quickly, things have changed. On the social media side, I remember meeting the head of YouTube India, Satya Raghavan, at an interaction. And he was telling me that back in 2016-17, mine was the only channel around which was doing cricket tutorial content in Hindi. There were plenty of people doing it in English in other countries but as an Indian channel, as an Indian creator, there weren’t a lot of people.

So it was something I discovered completely by accident. I didn’t do market research. I didn’t identify that this is the gap. I stumbled into it because I just liked making vlogs and watching vlogs. And I thought, ‘Okay, this is cool, let’s do this.’ So then I taught myself how to use a camera, edit videos and just for fun, put out a few vlogs where I try to combine the things that I like, which are cricket and spending time in the outdoors with my dog.

So my first few vlogs are literally going hiking with my dog while talking about whatever match I just watched the previous day. And then just for fun, just to try something out, I decided to make a tutorial and use the knowledge that I have and make a video on that basis. That video exploded. So suddenly that that gave me the feedback that there’s a demand for this. Then I just figured, ‘Okay, let’s dive deep into this and keep making this kind of content.’

So it was just like a process of figuring things out on the way. If I really look back over the last few years, they’ve just been about trying something new, working hard for it and then an opportunity opens up. It’s literally been that template which has been applied in different spheres.

What are some of the short-term and long-term goals you are looking to achieve during your time with the ICC?

Yeah, you’re sounding like my managers (laughs). I’m in the process of working those out. It’s been just one month since I joined. And I’ve spent that time having conversations internally at the ICC, trying to make sure I understand things internally first then reaching out externally to our members and having conversations with them and seeing where they are and where we can support them. So that’s a picture I’m still drawing up but I can definitely say that the next year is going to be very exciting.

Also, firstly, the inaugural Women’s U-19 World Cup is a hugely important tournament for the future of the game. And we’ve already seen, just the creation of that tournament has driven change in so many member countries, because now member countries are building their junior programmes. Now they have a clear pathway for which their junior programmes will aspire to. So that’s extremely exciting. And at the same time we’ve seen ICC Women’s Championship expand to 10 teams. So this cycle leading up to a World Cup in India is going to be exciting. The fact that there are three out of four ICC events in the subcontinent in the next cycle for women is a huge opportunity to really grow the game in some of the markets where it needs the most growth. These are some of the markets where we have a very high growth potential. Basically, the next 12 months really excite me. And I’m still in the process of figuring out how to use the next 12 months to shape the next maybe three or four years.

Since your playing days, commentating and creating content and now moving into this role with the ICC, what has been the most rewarding experience for you professionally?

So in terms of professionally rewarding, I really look back with a lot of pride on the days where I was providing coverage on women’s cricket, whether it was through Twitter or whether it was through writing pre-2017. It kind of set the base for my journalistic career. In 2016-17, which is roughly around a year after I quit cricket, I was trying out writing from home and freelance but had never really travelled for tournament work, never really travelled for media work. And that was a season where Indian cricketers were playing in the Women’s Big Bash League for the first time.

I thought, ‘Okay, this is interesting. Why don’t we go over to Australia and see if we can do some coverage there?’ Luckily, I had some friends in Australia who I could basically stay with which allowed me to really plan that trip out like that, and I just spent two months in another country being exposed to a different way of how they do cricket, how they do women’s cricket, being exposed to what it’s like having to travel alone, not travelling with a team where everything’s taken care of, but travelling by myself where I have to plan logistics, budgets, everything. So it was an experience which gave me a lot of exposure.

As a player, one’s experience is very singular because it’s almost like it is combined in a very tight compartment. And this allowed me to have experiences outside of that compartment and just give me a lot of exposure which I then tried to keep finding further. That was a risk I took, I probably lost money on that trip and I was lucky enough and privileged enough to be able to do that but it was a new experience. I gained a lot from it just in terms of confidence, new skills and a new perspective, most importantly, on the game.

When you decided to hang up your boots as a professional cricketer in 2015, what prompted you to take up sports writing and what was it like writing about women’s cricket at the time?

I didn’t have a plan of making media or writing as my full time career. I had already been writing for a few websites during my playing days, so I knew that that I had a skill. And I just casually made some inquiries.

At that moment, it was the need to find a career. One of the reasons I quit at the age I did was that I needed to give myself time for a second career because I knew I wasn’t going to stick with my real wage job, my government job after cricket, that was very clear. In my mind, I was in that government job only as long as I was playing cricket. When I stopped playing cricket, I quit that government job with nothing in hand. So it was a process of just figuring it out and then that seemed to work. I enjoyed it, I generally enjoy writing... even now, when it’s not about my work, I take time to write, to journal sometime on a personal topic. Luckily, my profile opened a few doors, the fact that I had played international cricket made it easy for me to get work. I had strong communication skills in English also made it easy for me to get work. The more opportunities I got, the better I got in my actual skill. More people started noticing what I had to say and how I said it, rather than what I was saying.

The landscape was very different back then. I remember in 2014, during that Test match that India won in England, there was obviously no TV coverage of it in India or even UK. And I remember checking the score and live tweeting the score obsessively. I felt like ‘If I don’t do this, how will people know?’ Now, that’s not even a question I have to worry about. Now, the mainstream media just takes women’s cricket seriously that I’m really glad we’re at that stage. But that was the landscape back then and the feeling was that responsibility - if I don’t do this, how will people know?

You have gone from wanting to be on the field to being on the field and then also having a ringside view of it. Could you walk us through your personal journey and what the game looked like in those different phases for you?

Something I remember, which I look back on really fondly is that in 2020, obviously, when Covid hit all freelance work, and it pretty much disappeared for a while. And I had to figure out how one builds their own revenue stream independent of work, which is dependent on other people. And I took the tutorials that I was teaching on YouTube for free and went a little deeper with that, and packaged it into an online course. And I put that course up, where people could basically get coaching from me through the videos that I had made, plus a little bit of interaction with myself. The feedback that I got from that course, the students who took up that course – eight-year-old girls in rural Maharashtra who didn’t have access to a coach close to their home and therefore, they signed up for a course so that they could get some guidance from someone who had played for India.

And the kind of reach that that course had, I had students from places like Mahendragarh, Bijnor, places, which I hadn’t even heard of on the map, Tier 3 cities... which just showed me and gave me an insight into how much talent there is outside of our cities for both boys and girls. I used to get messages back saying that the student has scored this, these many runs, ‘Thank you very much for helping with the coaching.’

It was a very satisfying feeling of having helped someone’s game go the next step. So that’s one milestone, you could say that I felt really proud about being able to bridge the knowledge gap with technology.

At each phase in your career so far, you must have faced some decision-making periods. Could you think back and tell us how the state of the game made you take or not take some of those decisions? Like, when you decided to be a writer... did you consider the pros and cons of where the game’s coverage was? And now when you took this step to get into ICC, did the direction of the game excite you?

So one of the decisions I remember is choosing to not study engineering. I come from a family where education is quite important. My grandfather has a PhD, my grandmother has an MSc, my dad is an engineer, both my brothers younger than me did their engineering. So there was a natural inclination in my mind towards engineering and so, I knew I could do it, I knew I could crack it. But I chose not to study engineering because I wanted time in my college years to also play cricket. At that time, there was no scope and this was 2004, before the BCCI had come in... I made a very hardcore switch that would have definitely given me a high paying job and instead took up a course which maybe will give me some educational background to fall back on, to rely on.

So I applied for a BSc in microbiology and that decision was a risky one. We were playing for our states, but we were not earning anything from that. Very often, we were travelling unreserved for tournaments. That was the landscape of the game. No one knew who domestic cricketers were, very few people even knew Mithali Raj. This was before that 2005 World Cup finals where they started getting a little bit of recognition. So that was the state of the game when that decision was taken.

If I look back, the decisions I’ve taken in my life have always been connected to the game. Even though sometimes they don’t always make logical sense... I mean, who quits a government job that gives you guaranteed pension?

So, yeah, that’s one of the decisions that I can think of, and that’s the landscape of the game at the time.

How much of a role do you think the ICC’s coverage has played in the expansion or interest around women’s cricket?

Massive. You look at the way ICC do their events and how they have really given the same treatment to men’s and women’s events for the last few years. That has been critical in raising the profile of the game. If you don’t treat the product as valuable to you, why will anyone else see the value in it? The quality of production that we’ve had, the quality of coverage that we’ve had, over the last few ICC World Cups has just been world-class and it’s better than what lot of other sports to do for their premier women’s events.

In fact, women’s cricket is one of the things that the ICC is very focused on. It’s a big priority within the organisation, it’s been identified as one of the six pillars in the global growth strategy. And, it’s the best time to join an organisation where they’ve already identified women’s cricket is our priority.

So yeah, it was like extremely different from the previous decisions when those decisions were hard decisions because there was no clear road forward there. There is a very exciting road forward here so this was an easy decision.

What are some areas that the ICC has identified about women’s cricket that you are most excited to work around?

The expansion of events that we are going to see the U-19 World Cup soon is going to become something regular. That happens every two years then we’re going to see a women’s version of the Champions Trophy and a T20 format which is going to give even more legs and eyeballs to the women’s game. Third is the fact that ICC is really chasing the Olympic Project and participation in the Olympics for cricket. That is something that the ICC has clearly identified as one of the directions in which the women’s game can grow massively.

Something that I’m personally really keen on is building depth in the international game even outside of the ICC Women’s Championship. How can we support the teams who have just got ODI status? Five teams who have just been awarded ODI status, how can we support them in their growth to be more and more competitive at World Cups, to qualify more for World Cups to beat big teams?

Those are the kinds of outcomes that I am personally looking to help achieve.