Having many firsts to her credit already, top woman cricketer of the J&K, Jasia Akhtar, who plays for Punjab in national arena has been selected to play for India Reds team in the upcoming Women's Challenger One-day trophy.
Board of Control for Cricket in India selectors on Saturday announced its three teams for the upcoming Senior Women's Challenger Trophy One-Day Tournament-2019. India Reds, India Blue and India Green – all comprise of 13 players each and will play against each other in the event from January 3 in Andra Pradesh.
Jasia Akhtar has been selected for the India Reds team that would be lead by Shikha Pandey. It is first time ever that any female cricketer from J&K has got a place in India Reds team and is in reckoning to play for the Indian senior women's team.
Jasia, hailing from Shopian district of Kashmir has been playing for Punjab from more than eight years now and has been doing well consistently. She was selected for the India Reds team on the basis of her performance during recently concluded senior women's cricket tournament. In the tournament she played seven matches and scored 215 runs. Although she had two fifty plus scores to her credit but it was her strike rate that caught the eye of everyone. She scored her runs with strike rate of 113.15.
Earlier last year Jasia had become second cricketer from J&K after Roopali Slathia of Jammu to be selected for the national camp. Even though She took part in the national camp but couldn't make it to India team. However, this time Jasia is confident of making it to India team by doing well in the upcoming challenger trophy.
"I am happy to see my name in the list and being rewarded for the hard work. This is another chance for me to do well and get a place in Team India. Previously I was selected for the national camp but I couldn't deliver to my potential," Jasia said.
"This time I am focused to do well in challenger trophy and in the upcoming National T20 event. I am in good touch and hopeful to do well for India Reds. My target is national team and it is another opportunity to get in there," she said.
About her plans to return to her home state of J&K, she said, "My aim is to play for Team India and while being in J&K, I have got no chance. The day I will represent India, I will move to my home State".
Reasons for that, she elaborated, "One should ask me question why I moved to Punjab and play for Punjab in national arena. It is all because of professionalism and support for the players as well as the level of cricket here. No one in national cricket arena take our women's team seriously, knowing it would be an easy outing against J&K. Our team lack professionalism so does J&K Cricket Association. There is no set plan in place to develop game and support players".
Jammu-based woman cricketer-turned-coach Roopali Slathia has hailed Jasia for the selection and said it shows that J&K has got the talent.
"I am happy to learn that Jasia has been selected for India Reds for Challenger trophy. It is not a small achievement. It takes hard work and dedication to reach there," said Roopali who was first to get selection for India Camp from J&K.