Passion for the game drives her

Veteran women scorer Himali Desai on a journey spanning 25 years

For Himali Desai, the seniormost female scorer in the country, spending quarter of a century in a profession dominated by men was the best possible way to stay connected with the game she loved the most.

Forty-four-year old Himali, a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) panel scorer who is employed as a statistician by the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), has performed duty in two Tests, 11 ODIs, three T20Is, some IPL matches and numerous Ranji and other domestic matches. She is the only woman Duckworth-Lewis manager in the country.

The seniormost among a handful of female scorers, Himali — who played inter-university cricket as a wicketkeeper-batsman — says the passion for the game was paramount for her.

“I wanted to stay connected with cricket, so I chose this,” Himali, posted in the press box for the Ranji Trophy final between Saurashtra and Bengal here, told The Hindu on Wednesday.

“In 1994, I passed the State panel exam and in 1997 the BCCI exam. We were just two girls and the other girl left scoring due to some personal problems.

“I did not come to this profession for money. I was passionate about cricket. Later, I came to know that scorers were also paid. My first earning was from the Cooch Behar Trophy match between Saurashtra and Baroda in 1994. I got ₹100 per day.

All matches are equal

“From a concentration point of view, all matches are equal to me. There is no extra pressure in international matches. One has to remain more alert though, as it goes live on TV.”

Himali thanked SCA for its support and felt proud to be associated with the association’s effort to create a huge database of statistics.

“I doubt if any other association has Ranji data since 1950. We have database of women’s (all formats) and C.K. Nayudu Trophy for Saurashtra and are working on Vijay Merchant and Cooch Behar stats.”

Looking back at her journey, Himali said, “Everybody, including players, respects me. I have never felt out of place. It’s like a family,” said Himali.

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