‘Future India captain,’ says coach as Kerala cricketer Minnu Mani picked to lead Women’s ‘A’ team

The three-match T20 series against England Women "A" will begin on 29 November. All the matches will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Nov 24, 2023 | 10:54 PMUpdatedNov 24, 2023 | 10:55 PM

'You ae looking at the future Indian captain," says coach as Kerala cricketer Minnu Mani to lead Indian Women 'A' T20 team

Five months after she made her international debut, Kerala cricketer Minnu Mani was on Friday, 24 November, named the India Women “A” team captain for the T20 series against England.

The three-match series will begin at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 29 November and end on 3 December.

The 24-year-old all-rounder, who became the first person from Kerala in the India Women’s cricket team, is also the first cricketer from the state to lead an India “A” women’s side.

Related: From Wayanad’s paddy fields to Delhi Capitals, this is Minnu Mani

A huge achievement

Minnu, a resident of the Edapaddi colony at the Choyimoola village in the Wayanad district, has played four matches for India so far, in which the off-spinner has picked five wickets.

She made her international debut during the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh at Mirpur in July this year.

Minnu Mani playingAnother feather was added to her cap when the left-handed batter became part of India’s gold medal-winning women’s team during the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games in China in September.

Noting it as a great achievement, BCCI level-one coach Jestin Fernandez, who has been working under Kerala Cricket Association, viewed the opportunity as a reward for the cricketer’s performance and her effort throughout the year.

“It is a great achievement. All of us are happy for her. It is her performance that is speaking. She is the most experienced player in the team that has been selected. BCCI has shown trust in her and this series will give her good confidence. She will definitely try to capitalise on it. You are looking at the future captain of the Indian women’s team,” Fernandez, a coach of Mani from her early days, told South First.

The Indian women’s team is scheduled to play a two-match test series against England from 14 December in Mumbai.

“She wants to play all the formats as different formats provide different experiences,” said Fernandez.

BCCI B-level coach Anu Ashok told South First that Mani would just look to enjoy her game.

“After her selection into the Indian team, everybody in Kerala has become familiar with her name. She is getting recognition and there is nothing else that would matter more for a player. She would want to contribute from all three departments — batting, bowling, and fielding,” said Ashok, adding that the Kerala government and the KCA contributed remarkably to Mani’s development.

'You ae looking at the future Indian captain," says coach as Kerala cricketer Minnu Mani to lead Indian Women 'A' T20 team

Minnu Mani being felicitated by KCA. (Supplied)

Asked if Mani had the capability to lead the Indian side one day, Ashok said, “She would first look to be consistent in the team. But yes, she surely has the capability to lead the side one day.”

India “A” Women will play three matches against England “A” Women on 29 November, and 1 and 3 December.

All the matches will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

The Indian squad is: C Minnu Mani (captain), Kanika Ahuja, Uma Chetry (vice-captain), Shreyanka Patil, G Trisha, Vrinda Dinesh, G Divya, Arushi Goel, Disha Kasat, Rashi Kanojiya, Mannat Kashyap, Anusha Bareddy, Monica Patel, G Kashavee, Jintimani Kalita, Prakashika Naik.

Also read: ‘Happy to represent country’, says Minnu Mani

From the Kurichiya tribe to WPL

In February, she was picked by Delhi Capitals (DC) for ₹30 lakh at the auctions of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL).

Minnu Mani with her father and grand mother

Minnu Mani with her father and grandmother.

“I first called my mom, dad, and grandmother. They were all very happy and shocked at the same time, as nobody expected this,” Minnu, who had a base price of ₹10 lakh, told South First earlier.

As with several women cricketers in the country, the journey hasn’t been easy for Minnu. She belongs to the Kurichiya tribe, which is famous for its bow-and-arrow skills.

She started playing cricket seriously at the age of 13, when she was a Class 8 student at the Government High School in Edapaddi.

“Before that, I used to play with the boys near my house. Many girls were shy when it came to playing cricket, but I was not. Our village has a lot of paddy fields, so we used to play there,” reminisced Minnu, whose father CK Mani is a daily-wager and mother Vasantha is a homemaker.

Looking at her talent, her physical education teacher and Wayanad district coach at the school, Elsamma Baby, took her to participate in the selection trials of the Wayanad District Under-13 team.

Calling Mani’s WPL selection the result of her dedication and participation in sports even while studying, Government Vocational Higher Secondary School Mananthavady teacher Elsamma KM said that she wishes that Mani would reach greater heights.