During Women’s History Month, the Northern California Cricket Association (NCCA) highlights, celebrates, and honors the many NCCA women and girls who’ve taken its newly formed women’s program to the next level. Here is Suhani Thadani’s journey so far.
“I have vague memories of watching my brother play cricket when he was younger. Before moving closer to Milpitas, we didn’t have a backyard because we lived in a townhouse. We shared the front area of the property with the other townhouse residents and would play cricket there with our neighbors. We had a tennis ball and, like, a half-broken bat. There was a park next to our townhouse, and we thought it was ginormous at the time, but it’s not that big – but we’d always play cricket there. I started cricket because of my brother. He’s my inspiration, and I look up to him.
My whole family has been very supportive of me ever since. Even when I started, I was one of the few girls practicing cricket with the boys. From other parents’ perspectives, they were like, “She’s the only girl; why would she keep playing?” But it was just white noise to my parents; they were super supportive from the start, and they’re still definitely supportive of everything I do. That’s why I think I was privileged. I’m really grateful to have a family that likes and wants me to pursue a career in sports. My parents and family have been encouraging and motivating, including my EYCA and MLCA cricketing family. I guess I’m just really fortunate to have people around me who care that I’m doing well in cricket. They’ve got my back.
I think that’s why my family and friends are the most important things in my life. If I didn’t have anything else, they would still be there to support me. They’re the one thing that will never go away like I could lose everything else, but my family and friends will still be there for me.
So, I surround myself with positive, supportive people that motivate me. I started cricket when I was nine years old, and Nadia Gruny and Sindhu Sriharsha were my first coaches. It’s a bit surreal to now be playing with them. Even Coach Gary and Coach Dashrath believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. They saw my potential, and every moment spent bowling in the cages at Nielsen with Coach Dashrath, and doing endless bowling drills with Coach Gary, prepared me for my future in cricket, and helped me get onto the U.S. National Women’s Team.
I like being on a team because you make many significant connections with people you didn’t expect to. Like on the NCCA Women’s Team: I thought it would be hard to play because we had new girls coming in from everywhere, and we didn’t know each other well. But during the practices, we bonded quickly, and we’re all like really good friends now. We were all just having fun at the games, and we were all just together as a team. Like you come here, and plenty of people will show you around; you get comfortable very quickly with the NCCA Women’s Team.
My goal is to surround myself with women who support me, work hard, and play for the U.S. National Women’s Team for as long as possible and represent my country. But my dream would be to play cricket professionally and make a living off of it. I love the feeling of adrenaline when I take a wicket, when there’s a catch, or when someone hits a good shot; those moments are special to me.
For now, cricket is my life. I don’t know what the future holds after I graduate, but I hope cricket will continue to be an essential part of it.”
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