Farmer Prabhu Navgire’s tiring Friday in Solapur, Maharashtra, ended on a thrilling note. His daughter and opening batter from Nagaland, Kiran Navgire, gave him the best news of his life when she was selected in the Indian T20 team for the three T20Is against England starting September 10. She stole the limelight with her big-hitting ability last season, smashing 162 off 76 balls for Nagaland against Arunachal Pradesh in a Plate group fixture in the senior women’s domestic T20 tournament. In seven matches in the domestic competition, she had plundered 54 fours and 35 sixes.
In addition, she had also made an impression with a 34-ball 69 playing for Velocity against Trailblazers in the last Women’s T20 Challenge held in Pune. It earned her accolades from former international women cricketers.
“I have been training hard for the past two months in Pune and working on my technique and temperament for the upcoming domestic season. I knew I needed to work on my style of play in order to score big and catch national selectors’ attention,” the 27-year-old Navgire said. “I am surprised to get the India call-up. I rang up my father and told him. We both got emotional. It is just a start for me. Playing for Velocity in the Women’s T20 Challenge opened my eyes and I have worked on improving my running between the wickets. International exposure does help a cricketer become a better operator.”
Navgire who took to cricket seriously in 2016, has also seen the other side. She came under heavy criticism when she got out for a duck after playing 13 balls in the Women’s T20 Challenge final against Trailblazers.
A former javelin thrower and shot-putter who won medals for Maharashtra, she has strong arms and loves to go for big shots. Inspired by Shafali Verma’s performances, she too wants to make the most of her chances. “Playing in England will be challenging. They have experienced bowlers. I will prepare and focus on my strengths. I love going after the bowlers and hitting sixes but then I have to wait for loose balls. The way Shafali has worked on her technique is praiseworthy,” added Navgire, who could have quit cricket after Maharashtra dropped her from the senior state team for the 2021 season. She did not lose hope, though, and joined Nagaland as a professional to try her luck.
“There have been offers from other states too ahead of the domestic season. But I will stick to Nagaland. They showed faith in me and gave me a platform. And I performed and I have got this brilliant opportunity,” said Navgire, who played for Maharashtra for three seasons before making the switch.
With meagre resources at her disposal, she hopes to get a contract from a sports goods manufacturer soon so that she can focus on the game entirely.
“I buy my cricket kit and gear from outlets in Pune and ask for discounts. Some dealers are kind enough to give me a discount but some do not entertain. My aim is to do well for India and make a mark,” said Navgire.