Making strides in the ‘gentleman’s game’

Nagaland women’s senior cricket team captain Sentilemla Imsong
Nagaland women’s senior cricket team captain Sentilemla Imsong

Morung Express News
Dimapur | March 7

Cricket may have come with the tag of being ‘a gentleman’s game,’ but women in Nagaland are slowly making strides to embrace it and build a career in the sport.

Having suffered its shared of dismal records in the past, the Nagaland women’s cricket team has fared better over the years.

The senior women’s team finished second in the plate group of the last Women’s Senior One Day Trophy and will now be playing in the Elite D group at the Women’s Senior One Day Trophy 2020-21, scheduled to be played between March 11 and April 11.

Captaining the team is 19-year-old Sentilemla Imsong, a product of the Hokaito Zhimomi cricket coaching academy in Dimapur.

For someone who has always been interested in sports, it was not a hard decision for Imsong to join the academy and take up cricket as a profession. She joined the academy in 2018 and has been part of the junior women’s team and captained the side on numerous occasions till date.

Speaking to The Morung Express, Imsong shared that Nagaland is blessed with talented youngsters. With the right guidance, facility and exposure, sportswomen can make their mark, she said.

While cricket is a widely recognized and followed sport in the country, the platform for women in the State needs improvement, she shared. Cricket for women could progress a lot with the same level of attention as given to other sports, she added.

“Not many may be aware that there is a women’s cricket team in Nagaland. There are rare occasions when there is news about the team participating in tournaments,” Imsong said, highlighting the ‘lack of attention’ given to the sport.

Also, whenever cricket tournaments are organized, there is little or no category for women, she observed, while admitting that female participants are less in number and it may be one of the reasons for not being able to have a separate category for them.

In this regard, she shared that participation can be encouraged by inviting young school girls to witness exhibition matches which she hoped, would generate attention and interest in the sport.

Imsong also hoped that the team would be able to perform well in the tournament in the coming days as well which in turn would help get more recognition and eventually, support from the government.

The 18 year old idolizes Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and wishes to play for India in the future.

Imsong encouraged youngsters to move beyond their dependency on parents and aspire to create their own paths to success. “We can excel in any field if we are dedicated to what we do,” she added.

Placed in the Elite D group, Nagaland will be up against big players like Kerala, Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab in this year’s Women’s Senior One Day Trophy.

“It will be tougher this year, but I’m confident the girls and the team will give our best and get some good experience from the tournament,” Imsong said.

The 22-member squad announced for the tournament is currently undergoing a six-day quarantine and will be facing Punjab in its first match on March 13 at Indore.