Step-by-step advice on pathways, clubs, competitions and coaching for getting into girls cricket and women’s cricket in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu has a rich history of girls playing cricket. Some of the pioneers of the game in India are from Chennai.
Sudha Shah, wicket-keeper Fowzieh Khalili – they hit the first official hundreds by Indian women, in the first varsity tournament – and Susan Itticheria (mother of squash champion Dipika Pallikal and mother-in-law of Dinesh Karthik!) were part of the first Indian international teams. More recently, batter Thirush Kamini, pace bowler Niranjana Nagarajan and all-rounder D Hemalatha have represented the country.
Here’s how young girls in Tamil Nadu can go about becoming cricketers like them!
Where to start
First, get enrolled in a club or academy near you (more details below) to improve your game and get a better idea of what matches and opportunities are available.
However, you don’t have to go through an academy. If you are very young and talented, you can directly register with the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) when they call for applications.
The best opportunities for facilities and matches are in Chennai. So, many girls, once they get serious about cricket, choose to shift to Chennai from the districts.
How to register
A little before the start of the domestic season (usually around May or June), TNCA will put out an ad in newspapers and on their website, inviting players for open trials and registration.
Pick up the registration form either at the TNCA office in Chennai or download it from their website. The form looks something like this.
Unlike in some other states, girls in TN don’t need to compulsorily register with their district association or a club or academy before filling up this form with TNCA. However, registering with a club or district association may help when it comes to getting annual awards and to access facilities and equipment.
Contact TNCA on firstname.lastname@example.org or +91 44 28544175 for more details
What age groups
Tamil Nadu has teams for Under-16, Under-19, Under-23 and senior levels.
How to get selected to Tamil Nadu state women’s teams
Open trials ➡ probables camp ➡ state team
League matches ↗
Selection for U16 and U19 teams usually happens via open trials. That means
- The association invites players to register.
- Players are asked to assemble on a particular day (or days). Keep an eye out on the TNCA website for the dates.
- Selectors watch the players perform on the day, either in open nets or in matches and ‘probables’ are shortlisted.
- The final state team is selected from this group of probables, either directly or after another camp.
During the pandemic, the senior team too was selected in this manner.
However, in 2018 and 2019, performances in two league tournaments played a big part in who was selected for the state team. After the pandemic, this system is likely to resume.
The league works as follows:
- These tournaments are held in both the 50-over and 20-over format.
- Six teams participate: Yellow Challengers, White Warriors, Green Invaders, Blue Avengers, Silver Strikers, Red Rangers.
- Players from all over the state, from all age groups, are divided into the teams by the selectors.
- Selections are based on previous performances for the state team, word of mouth from district associations and academy coaches, and an unofficial scouting process.
- The top two teams play the final.
Based on performances in the league, a list of probables is prepared. There may then be another camp and selection matches, before the final state senior team is named.
Other opportunities to develop cricket
- Iron Lady Memorial Trophy: This is a private 20-over tournament for clubs and academies that has grown from five teams in 2018 to 15 teams in 2021.
- While there are no inter-academy games, girls who are part of academies do get chances to play some private tournaments along with the boys.
- Summer camps conducted by TNCA, especially for U16 level.
Women’s cricket lags far behind men’s cricket in Tamil Nadu. However, girls and women can access most of the same clubs and academies as the boys.
The TNCA is known to prioritise the safety of its female players. Although there are dormitories in the main stadium, the women are usually put up in hotels or guesthouses for their safety, with travel to and from the stadium taken care of. This happens during matches, camps and training.
Any T20 leagues?
There is no Tamil Nadu Premier League for women. However, the association organises a T20 league for girls and women as part of its selection process. (This was suspended during the pandemic.)
Girls school cricket in Tamil Nadu
There is no inter-school tournament organised by TNCA. Schools take part in tournaments organised by the School Games Federation of India at the U14 and U16 levels.
Schools that are associated with girls cricket:
- Padma Sarangapani (several state players are from here)
- St George’s Anglo Indian School (exclusive academy for girls – see below)
Girls college cricket in Tamil Nadu
The standard of college cricket is not too high in Chennai. Colleges do take part in the university games. Some that support students’ sporting ambitions in cricket with facilities, leave and financial assistance are:
- MOP Vaishnav College for Women
- Ethiraj College
- SIET College
Notable cricket academies for girls
Chennai has some excellent cricket academies. Although not many have exclusive teams for girls, almost all of them welcome girls and offer them opportunities to play in mixed teams.
There is an exclusive girls academy at St George’s Anglo Indian School, which opened in 2020, run by senior team coach Aarti Sankaran.
Cricket Drome is popular with young girls, and they also offer some financial assistance to those in need. Zenminds, which has former state coach Hema Malini guiding the students, also has a strong focus on girls’ cricket.
Gen Next, YMCA and United Friends Academy are other popular ones.
There is not much financial assistance available while starting out. But some private academies offer some financial assistance. Both TNCA and district associations present annual awards recognising talented players for the year.
If you have information on schools, colleges or academies that support girls cricket in Tamil Nadu, contact us and we’ll add it to this page!