Editor’s note: Views expressed in the article are strictly personal.
On August 13 2020, a documentary about the hugely sucessful ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 — titled Beyond the Boundary, premiered worldwide on streaming platform Netflix. The documentary celebrates the 17-day tournament, which saw the emergence of new heroes in the women’s game as more cricket fans than ever before switched on. It also witnessed records being set in terms of crowds, broadcast viewership and digital engagement. India played hosts Australia in the tournament final at Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 86,000-plus people. Harmanpreet Kaur and Co lost in the final as Australia bounced back from the opening day defeat against India. Pacer Shikha Pandey recounted that tournament through the documentary in her blog.
For someone who is an absolute cricket nut, not going back and watching the T20 World Cup videos of my bowling or batting was difficult. After every tournament I play, I go back and watch all my videos for a good day or two. Yeah, I know, I am crazy.
But this time over it was different. I didn’t want to watch them partly because the heartbreak after the final was immense. I take a lot of pride in having represented my country in a sport that I have loved since I was five years old. Also, I have been fortunate to play two World Cup finals, and have learnt a lot on the way to these and even more from their results.
Cut to Monday, I watched the documentary on my cell phone, in about twenty minutes or so; I fast forwarded or skipped most of it. My parents are even bigger cricket lovers than me. Remember, I am their kid, so yeah. They kept nagging me to watch it along with them on television via the streaming service. I said no initially but then had to give in to their wish.
We started watching the documentary whilst having lunch. And I realised how well it was made. Kudos to ICC to even have thought on these lines. I had a smile on my face all along and I watched it till the end. My parents have always watched me playing live cricket on TV and they said for the first time ever they weren’t anxious and loved every minute of the documentary (They even managed to locate me in there a fair bit of times).
Watching the documentary today was such a relief and the emotions found a way out. Just to re-iterate the fact that cricket is a part of my life and it isn’t the other way around. I still have some work to do on that front and I am happy that I am getting better.
On the brighter side – I now, am a part of a documentary on women’s cricket, that celebrates the T20 women’s World Cup in the year 2020, which has been an absolute nightmare thus far due to Covid-19. I found something to smile about in these testing times whilst praying for and contributing whatever little I can towards the well-being of so many who are finding it difficult even to survive.
Cricket has taken me to some amazing places and has let me make some wonderful friends for life. Also, who gets to meet global icons like Katy Perry and Billie Jean King in person and be part of a ‘once in a life time celebration of women’s cricket’ with 87,000 people (86,174 plus the ground staff, organising committee, volunteers, the teams players and support staff) in attendance at the G.
I have come a long way from being a brooding cricketer for whom perfection mattered the most. I have seen a lot of ups and downs in my cricket career. Now, I don’t repent anything that I have done or anything that has happened to me, good or bad because that has helped shape me to be the person I am today. (I still am never happy with the LBW decisions off my bowling though!)
Believe me - the only thing I repent the most is not to have bowled a bouncer in the Bangladesh game when we were playing at WACA, a ground that has been my absolute favourite growing up, during any Australian home Test series. It’s a real shame that WACA has been relegated to the rear ranks and shall now become a community and sporting hub serving as a training base. To have been able to play on this ground, for sure, shall be one of my most cherished memories.
PS: ‘Champions keep playing until they get it right’ – Billie Jean King: is my favourite sports quote and my personal e-mail account’s signature.
This article was originally published on Shikha Pandey’s blog on 17 August and has been reproduced here with permission.