Step-by-step advice on pathways, clubs, competitions and coaching for getting into girls cricket and women’s cricket in Meghalaya.
Cricket is not the most popular sport in Meghalaya – football, athletics and karate are much more popular among girls. The fact that it rains so much doesn’t help a sport like cricket!
Until 2018, the state team did not take part in BCCI tournaments. However, girls kept their passion for the sport alive by playing on the streets and in competitions within the North-East. In 2019-20, the team did well in their group and earned a promotion in the senior women’s national tournament as well.
As facilities aren’t highly developed and the quality of cricket is still raw, many girls choose to travel outside the state to get better training. Over the next few years, though, facilities and opportunities are expected to further develop to aid local players.
Here’s how you can aim to be part of the Meghalaya state women’s team.
Where to start
If you’re less than around 12, start by playing sport in school or with your friends. Any sport, it doesn’t matter! It will be fun, and also help you develop motor skills that you can use if you want to play competitive cricket later.
Once you are sure you want to play cricket, join training programmes at the academies run by the Meghalaya Cricket Association or the various district associations.
District associations with teams are: East Garo Hills, Ri-Bhoi, All Jaintia, South West Khasi Hills, South Garo Hills, Shillong, West Khasi Hills, East Jaintia Hills, North Garo Hills, East Khasi Hills and Tura.
Recently, the association has also helped set up women’s clubs for U19s. So soon, this too can be an option. We’ll keep you posted!
How to get selected to the Meghalaya women’s team
Since the system in Meghalaya is new-ish, the selection process is different for U19s and for seniors.
For seniors, the process is: Open trials → Probables camp → State team
- MCA or the district associations in Tura and Shillong, announce the dates for open trials for various age groups. This announcement usually appears in the newspaper or MCA Instagram page.
- On the day of the trial, go to the location and register. You will have to clear a fitness test. After that, you get to show your cricket skills.
- The best players from the trial are named as state ‘probables’. They then attend a state camp.
- Based on performances at the camp, players are named for the three state squads.
For Under-19, an inter-district tournament is also organised before the state camp. This took place for the first time in 2021.
Open trials → Inter-district competition → Probables camp → State team
For this inter-district competition, the 11 districts were divided into three groups, with the top four teams playing the knockouts.
Shillong and Tura are the main centres for cricket in the state. Several districts are now setting up academies too.
School & college cricket for girls cricket in Meghalaya
There is no established system for school or college cricket.
Debasmita Dutta’s Story
Debasmita Dutta’s cricket journey started like so many others: playing gully cricket.
Her school sports teacher in Shillong suggested that she take up badminton. After all, unlike cricket, badminton doesn’t get disrupted by all the rain in Shillong! But Debasmita was always keener on cricket. And when a girls cricket tournament was conducted among some clubs in the region for the first time, her teacher helped her get in.
This was around 2010. She was in class 8. At that time, Meghalaya didn’t play BCCI tournaments, but they did have matches against other North-Eastern states. For two years, Debasmita represented Meghalaya in these games.
After her class 10 exams, seeing his daughter’s love for cricket, Debasmita’s father suggested that she go to a cricket camp in Karnataka for the summer. “Because of him I came to Bangalore, otherwise I was very reluctant!” she says.
That summer at KIOC changed things for her. Nowadays, you need to live or study in a state for a couple of years before you an represent the team, but back then, the rules were different. Upon the urging of coach Irfan Sait and senior Karuna Jain, Debasmita tried out for the Karnataka U19 team – and got in!
The youngster played for Karnataka for a few years before a call came from back home. From 2018, Meghalaya was under the BCCI, and they wanted experience in their team. Debasmita is now skipper of the squad. Battling a finger injury last year, she helped her team earn promotion from Plate to Elite division.
She also travelled to the UAE in 2020 with players from Meghalaya, Kerala and Karnataka for friendly matches with men and women there.
Through all of this, Debasmita has juggled sport with studies. The break because of the pandemic has given her a chance to finally complete her MBA.
She’s excited about how far Meghalaya cricket can go. “It’s a good opportunity,” she says. “We can build a team. I always thought that we have the potential. The only difference from other states is that it’s very new to us.”
If you have information on schools, colleges or academies that support girls cricket in Meghalaya, contact us and we’ll add it to this page!