Step-by-step advice on pathways, clubs, competitions and coaching for getting into girls cricket and women’s cricket in Odisha.
In the past few years, Odisha has earned a name as the ‘sports capital of India’.
Global competitions in hockey, football, badminton, table tennis and athletics have been held here or are scheduled to take place in the state. It has world-class facilities and has set up high-performance centres in many sports. In terms of infrastructure, training and opportunity, there are plenty of doors open for a sports-loving girl.
Cricket in the state too has benefitted from this sporting culture. In 2018, the Odisha women’s cricket team became champions of the ‘Plate group’ (ie the second division) in BCCI’s national-level T20 tournament.
Here’s how a girl who wants to pursue a playing career in cricket can join the sport in Odisha.
Where to start
Start by joining a private cricket academy or one of the camps organised at the district level.
There are 30 cricket districts in Odisha, which are associated with the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA), which is the main body taking care of cricket in the state. See here for a full list of these districts and clubs.
Apart from the districts, there are four ‘legacy teams’. These are the teams associated with the Paradeep Port Trust Ltd. (plays as Paradeep), Rourkela Steel Plant Ltd. (plays as Rourkela), Kalinga Institute of Information Technology (plays as KITT) and East Coast Railways (ECORSA).
OCA sometimes have talent hunt programmes, specifically to bring on board girls from Odisha’s tribal communities.
Selection to the Odisha women’s cricket team
There is no one path to selection; performances in a few different competitions at various levels count towards final selection. But to put it broadly, it is as follows:
Trials → (District) → Women’s League → Probables → State team
Not all of the 30 districts and 4 units have women’s teams, but many of them do. There used to be an inter-district competition that took place.
Trails may happen at the district level or the state level. A trial means that OCA announces a date and venue for interested girls to come and try out for the state team.
Keep an eye out in newspapers and the OCA Facebook page for details. At the given date, go to the venue, register with the required ID and age-proof. You will have to show your skills either through open nets or matches.
In 2020-21, OCA also organised the first Women’s League. This included both 50-over and 20-over matches.
For this, 90 players were spread across six teams named after colours: Green, Red, Yellow, Orange, Violet, Purple. All those who featured in Odisha’s senior and junior state teams in the previous year, as well as 36 players identified via a talent scouting programme took part.
There was also a one-off T20 exhibition match played between two teams as a curtain-raiser to this competition.
Then, the best players from this tournament were shortlisted for selection. For the senior team, the top players were divided into three teams that played selection matches against one another.
From here, the final state senior squad was named. This system is likely to continue in the future.
Outside of the cricket grounds maintained by OCA, there are plenty of facilities maintained by the government, which sportspersons can access.
School and college cricket for women in Odisha
KIIT and KISS are very involved in cricket, and the KIIT ground is used for national-level tournaments.
Notable clubs and academies for girls cricket in Odisha
- Jagruti Cricket Academy, Bhubaneshwar
- Shaheed Sporting Club, Bhubaneshwar
- Paramount Sporting Club, Bhubaneshwar
- Rourkela Gymkhana
- Golden Eagle Club, Sambalpur
- The grounds outside Barabati stadium in Cuttack also host lots of camps and coaching centres. Some of them welcome girls.
- Ladies Cricket Coaching Club at Bolani Mines, set up by Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) (It caters especially to local tribal people.)
The Odisha Sports & Youth Services Department has a number of schemes to recognise participation and performance, and also lays down rules to get government jobs that allow players to train as well as earn.
If you have information on schools, colleges or academies that support girls cricket in Odisha, contact us and we’ll add it to this page!