Another day of celebration at CricHeroes. Saika Ishaque, the highest wicket-taker at the Tata Women’s Premier League from Kolkata, created history with her clutch moments at the WPL games; inspiring more women to pick cricket as a career.
The 27-year-old, left-arm spinner was bought by Mumbai Indians for Rs 10 lakh at the auctions held on the 13th of February. Saika started on a strong foot by securing her first wicket on the sixth ball and currently topping the charts with 12 wickets.
The Hard Yard
The journey to the WPL podium wasn’t a bed of roses for Saika Ishaque who comes from a modest locality in Kolkata.
Saika grew up in Park Circus, a neighborhood more famous for its mouth-watering biryani and Mughlai cuisine than cricket. Playing cricket in a street that’s clad with women wearing the Burqa and not encouraged to play sports has been a challenging ordeal for Saika.
However, the door to her dream of playing cricket was brought to life by her father. But the man who took the bold step passed away when she was just 15 years old; leaving the big dream of pursuing her passion incomplete.
In an interview with Moneycontrol.com, Mithu Mukherjee, Former India cricketer, and National Selector revealed “Saika’s house is in a slum area. She lost her father when she was young, and her mother had to work as a domestic help to run the family. There was financial stress, and she did not even get to study. She has a sister who got married.”
Despite financial and family hardships, she worked hard to make her way into U-19 and U-23 levels for West Bengal before finally making it to the senior side.
Then came another unexpected turn for Saika. She suffered a shoulder injury in 2018 that kept her out of form for two years. As expected, her performance took a toll and she was eventually dropped from the Bengal team.
The Comeback Queen
Around 2021, Saika again reached a turning point. Former Indian cricket player and national selector Mithu Mukherjee recognized the untapped potential in Saika and helped her get the right guidance. Saika started training under left-arm spin-bowler and coach Shibsagar Singh.
Under his guidance, Saika was able to make the right technical adjustments and receive vital advice at the right time. One sound advice given by him was to pull her length back and concentrate on bowling in the right way, instead of trying to pick up wickets.
Saika was able to return to the field in a better form and with more vigour. Our Bengal tigress regained her confidence and fine-tuned her bowling. She is now well-known for her economical bowling; you can track her slow left-arm orthodox magic on CricHeroes since 2021.
Former Indian cricket allrounder Rumeli Dhar, who captained Saika at Bengal, praised her for her mature bowling.
Overturning The Game at WPL 2023
Saika Ishaque, who’s already bagged the purple cap, is a true cricket genius for an uncapped Indian player. Her double-wicket overs stint from Gujarat Giants, Royal Challengers Bangalore, to Delhi Capitals is worth watching on repeat.
With great pleasure, CricHeroes extends a congratulatory note to Saika and a huge salute to her determination and passion for the game. We wish her story inspires more women to seize their cricket careers and take advantage of local cricket tournaments and track online scores.
Lastly, who are you betting on in the Tata Women’s Premier League? Who do you think would be the next Mithali Raj? Who’ll get the chance to represent the Indian women’s team?
Comment and let us know!