Step-by-step advice on pathways, clubs, competitions and coaching for getting into girls cricket and women’s cricket in Baroda.
When India women played Australia women in Vadodara in 2018, around 7000 people thronged the grounds to watch. Women’s cricket in India had rarely seen those kinds of crowds back then.
But that gives an idea of the kind of support for girls and women’s cricket in Vadodara, both from the fans and the association.
The city of Vadodara has a cricket system separate from that of the rest of Gujarat, and is run by the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA). Over the years, the BCA has come up with interesting initiatives to develop women’s cricket at the grass roots.
Although there is no set pathway as such, BCA continues to try and maximise opportunities for girls to play.
Radha Yadav, the young left-arm spinner who has been an integral part of the Indian T20 team in recent years, is from Mumbai but has come up through the Baroda system.
Tushar Arothe, who was coach when India went to the World Cup final in 2017, is also from the city and continues to advise aspiring cricketers there.
Where to start
A girl who is interested in playing cricket can join a cricket club in Vadodara or reach out directly to the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA).
To play for the Baroda team, players will need to register with the association. This can be done:
- Directly with the BCA
- Via the club (this is the most common way) or
- Via one of the seven districts of the BCA ie Navsari, Patan, Mehsana, Billimora, Dabhoi, Vyara, Motafofaliya.
But wait. Do you come under Baroda or Gujarat Cricket Association or Saurashtra Cricket Association?
The following places come under BCA: Aantarsuba, Dhari, Khambha, Patan, Tilakwada, Amreli, Dwarka, Kheralu, Petlad, Vijapur, Baroda, Gandevi, Kodinar, Ratanpur, Visnagar, Bhadran, Harij, Mahuva, Sankheda, Vyara, Chansama, Kadi, Mehsana, Savli, Waghodia, Daamnagar, Kalol, Navsari, Shinor, Dabhoi, Kamrej, Padra, Siddhpur, Dehgaam, Karjan, Palsana, Songadh.
Clubs and academies for girls cricket in Baroda
There are no exclusive clubs for girls, and no club tournaments just for women either. Most top clubs, however, do have girls and women learning there.
Some of these well-known ones are:
- Vadodara Cricket Academy (girls get 50% discount on the fees)
- Kiran More Cricket Academy
- Aunshuman Gaekwad School of Cricket
- Youth Service Centre
(See a full list of BCA affiliated clubs in the city.)
Away from the city, in the seven districts where there may not be many places in the private clubs for girls, the BCA itself has centres where girls are welcome.
How to get into the Baroda girls cricket team
BCA puts out notices about selection trials in newspapers and on its website, while also informing clubs, schools and its district associations. (The notice might look like this.)
Players are invited for the trials on the specified days. Either through open nets or matches, they are shortlisted to form ‘probables’.
These probables are further whittled down to the final 15, based on selection matches or a camp.
Alternatively, the BCA also sends out talent scouts to the districts to identify talent and encourage them to join the system.
Facilities for girls cricket
Alembic and Motibaug grounds are the centres of girls and women’s cricket for the BCA.
The facilities in these grounds are made to cater to women. So much so, that often during training the association tries to ensure there are no men or boys around at the same time to ensure a safe space for the girls. They have also been holding regular gender sensitisation programmes for coaches and players.
Participants are assured of morning and evening snacks during these training sessions, with the association aiming to emphasise nutrition.
Coaching is free and players also get a kit from the association.
Every player registered with BCA is covered in case of injury sustained on the field of play.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | +91 265 2336625/26
School cricket in Vadodara
BCA organises a tennis-ball tournament for schoolgirls. This tournament has been irregular for the past few years, especially with the pandemic, but is still in the pipeline.
College cricket in Vadodara
Women can represent Baroda university in inter-varsity matches, but there are no colleges with women’s cricket teams.
The Maharaja Sayajirao University is a well-established college known for its cricket facilities where girls play cricket.
Other opportunities to develop cricket
The BCA ensures matches against junior boys for the Baroda girls and women’s teams. U16 girls play against U14 boys in both practice matches and BCA tournaments.
Learning to play multi-day cricket through practice matches is also a part of the training. This is unusual because BCCI does not organize multi-day tournament, and most state associations ignore this aspect of the game.
Cricket scholarships & financial aid
Some clubs and academies offer discounts on training for girls (eg. Vadodara Cricket Academy).
Because Baroda is home to so many big names in cricket, many former international and Ranji players frequently distribute kits and equipment from their sponsors to the young players every season.
Yastika Bhatia participated in karate, swimming, badminton. But when it was time to choose a sport to pursue, she went with cricket!
When she was eight, Yastika used to practise with boys in Baroda. Her sister used to join her too. The girls were all-rounders, until one day a BCA selector who saw them asked Yastika to work on her wicket keeping because the junior state cricket team needed one. So, Yastika took up wicket-keeping. She even changed from batting right-handed to the left hand. Today, she can bowl and bat with both her left and right hand! And of course, keep wickets.
When she was around 13, she made a string of half-centuries while playing against boys, which helped her break into the senior T20 team. She also played a major role in Baroda’s victory in the Under-19 West Zone tournament that year by scoring 230 runs.
She went on to captain the Under-23 team, and was a part of India A, which lifted the Asia Cricket Council Emerging team cup. She broke into the national squad for the 2021 series against South Africa.
Yastika is good at studies too: she scored 96% in class 10th and 89% in class 12. She chose cricket over studies, while her sister did the opposite. While her sister is a doctor today, Yastika has an India cap in her sights.
If you have information on schools, colleges or academies that support girls cricket in Baroda, contact us and we’ll add it to this page!