Gaur ready to shrug off WPL disappointment | Cricket

Due to a calculation glitch in the auction, lanky left-arm medium-pacer from United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mahika Gaur, could not roll her arm at the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) in India a few months ago. Gujarat Giants did bid for then 16-year-old pacer but as they had already exhausted their quota of overseas players, the franchise think-tank had to leave her out from the squad. Leaving behind the disappointment of not being part of WPL, Gaur kept making waves at the international level playing for UAE and also in Fairbreak Invitational in Hong Kong.

Mahika Gaur in action during The Hundred(The Hundred)

Recently, the 17-year-old startled everyone playing for Manchester Originals side in The Hundred. Having moved from UAE to pursue education on a scholarship in her home country, she grabbed headlines some days ago as she became the third Indian-origin bowler to get selected in the England women’s cricket team. She will be seen in action against Sri Lanka in the upcoming T20I and ODI series. The first India-origin bowler to have played for England was Sonia Odedra and Isa Guha was the second one.

“I hope there will be more role models now for young Asian girls in England so they feel like they can get into the sport, and hopefully in the future we will see more and more South Asian women in the team,” she said after her selection.

Gaur, who stands 6 feet 2 inches tall, impressed England coach John Lewis the most. And the fact that England are in a great need of a quality pacer after Anya Shrubsole and Kathrine Brunt have quit the sport, makes Gaur’s entry in the England team more relevant.

She hogged limelight playing for UAE in the U-19 World Cup in South Africa and also for the senior team in the T20 Asia Cup which India won in Bangladesh last year.

The Reading-born teenager who has roots in Rajasthan made her international debut for the UAE aged 12, against Indonesia during the Thailand Women’s T20 Smash in 2019.

Her love for the game began at six years old, when Gaur went to an Indian Premier League (IPL) game in Jaipur to watch Rajasthan Royals against Delhi Capitals with her family. “I do not remember much of the match but when we got back to England I would try to bowl like them in the garden and I joined a club nearby,” shared Gaur.

Gaur took after her father who was also once a left-arm medium-pacer and played for his university and is 6 feet 4 inches tall.

Her parents moved to Dubai in 2014 from England. Her first cricket lessons in Dubai happened at the International Cricket Council Academy.

“All WPL franchises will be eyeing young players who have done well in the recent months. Mahika is a great talent and I am sure during the WPL-2 auction she will be sold at a good price. And she will now get great exposure with the England team which plays all through the calendar,” said one of the scouts for WPL and also a former cricketer.

Someone who idolises England’s swing bowler James Anderson, Gaur possesses impressive variations and relies on her swing along with pace with a clean action to support her talent. She might have missed out during the first WPL auction but it looks like she will be a hot-pick whenever the second WPL auction happens.

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