Hyderabad: The other name for the game of cricket is ‘gentlemen’s game’. However, the definition has no limits in the current world. With the game being played across the globe without gender barriers, the boundaries are narrowing down with each passing day.
Every now and then there are stories propping up about women achievements in the areas that are being dominated by men. Aarti Nalge is one such tale that is not only inspiring but also narrowing the gender inequality. Meet the 34-year-old Hyderabadi who is the first woman video analyst for the women’s cricket team.
She has been working with the Indian women’s cricket team since 2014 and has made a mark for herself in the field. “Yes. It feels great to be where I am today. It also feels great to know that I am the only one in the field. I have worked hard and there is no cake walk. The journey has been exciting so far. I have learnt a lot on professional as well as personal front as well. I would love to see more women in the field. I know it is tough job but that is what life is all about,” she says with a smile.
Aarti, who had been a cricketer herself, had to quit the game after sustaining a shoulder injury during a fielding session when she was 22 years old. However, her love for the game kept her in touch with the game. “I started my career in 2010 as a junior BCCI junior video analyst. I had worked with BCCI for umpiring projects during all the domestic tournaments. In 2011, I became senior video analyst. In 2014, I got a call from BCCI enquiring about my interest to become women’s team’s video analyst. It was MV Sridhar who gave me the opportunity,” she recalls.
The job was not easy. “There are challenges in every field. When I joined I knew few players from the team. That made my life easier. One good thing in the field is there is no gender discrimination. There were many people who supported me when I joined. But even after three and half years, I face challenges in day to day life. The mantra is to experiment with the available options and then try to find out solutions,” she elaborates.
Her role begins much before the start of a tournament. From the collection of opposition’s game videos to anlaysing their strengths, strategising the team plans for the matches along with team coach, she plays a key role along with coach. “Getting the video footage of opposition is a tough job. There are no libraries where we can go to. So I walk up to the opposition camp and share the footage. Before we show the videos to team, we analyse it with team coach and then strategise the game plans”
She has been travelling with the women’s cricket team across the globe. When asked about her memorable moment with team India, she says: “Women’s cricket has come a long way. I am very happy that lot of people are recognising everyone’s hard work. Not just players but also the support staff.
My best moment so far was when India went for ICC qualifiers in Colombo. The final was against South Africa and we won the cup.”
India will be playing the World Cup in England from June 24 and Aarti is excited about working for the mega event. “I am very excited. It is going to be my first World Cup assignment. I have done all other tournaments. But this is my first World Cup. There is also fear. It is mixed feelings. I am looking forward to it. The team is really doing well. I definitely want India to win,” she concludes.