255 runs and 15 wickets from 8 matches. She is the only player to have more than 10 wickets as well as 200 runs in the tournament. She led Madhya Pradesh from the front for an unbeaten run in the recently concluded U19 T20 Trophy. Also, she was one of the leading run-scorers and the leading wicket-taker in the U19 NCA camp matches.
Soumya Tiwari had an absolute dream run this year.
When asked about her performance in the U19 T20 Trophy and how she led the team to lift the trophy, Soumya Tiwari was quick to interrupt to point out that it was a team effort.
“It was culture and the environment which was created by our management. Those team bonding sessions and the strategies came in handy as well”.
Last year, Madhya Pradesh ended up as the runners-up in the U19 One Day trophy. “Our team prepared and played well last year too. It was disappointing not to lift the trophy in 2021. Therefore, this win is special for us”.
This is not the first time Soumya Tiwari is captaining a side. She was the captain of the Bhopal U16 team and the Bhopal U19 team where she made heads turn with her all-round performances.
Soumya Tiwari’s journey to cricket began when she was 11. She used to play gully cricket, and with the help of her elder sister, she joined the Arera Cricket Academy in Bhopal. A year later, she made it to Bhopal’s U19 team. Soon, to the U19 Madhya Pradesh state team.
The lack of women’s tournaments in Madhya Pradesh made her practice and play alongside boys. She credits her coach Suresh Chenani for providing her with opportunities.
“My first big tournament was U14 Little Master’s cup alongside boys. Also, my coach used to encourage me to play with boys as they played more compared to girls. He made me play in every single boys’ tournament right from U13 tournaments which our academy played. Sometimes with senior boys too.”
Interestingly, Soumya Tiwari’s career didn’t begin as an all-rounder but as a wicketkeeper.
“My coach wanted me to be an all-rounder and made me bowl in the nets. I tried everything, but off-spin worked well for me”, she says.
This year, Soumya Tiwari will be preparing for her 12th board exams. Her family, who are super supportive, wants her to concentrate equally on the game. She also thanks her school for being supportive.
Soumya Tiwari says that she idolizes Virat Kohli, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana. She learns from their game and their approach.
“I love Harmanpreet Kaur’s aggressive batting and aggression on the field. I also love Smriti Mandhana and have learnt a lot from her. As a captain, it is important for me to approach the game with calmness too. The way she goes with her game is something to learn from”.
Also, her special moment in cricket remains how she dismissed Pooja Vastrakar twice in the inter-state matches.
She goes on to add that she loves playing under pressure situations and has modelled her game similar to Virat Kohli’s.
“I want to finish matches like him”.
This COVID pandemic has given her enough time for Soumya Tiwari to analyse her own game.
“During this pandemic, I began to watch my own videos, and it has helped me a lot to grow as a player in recent times”, she says.
The inaugural U19 World Cup will take place next year. She says that she doesn’t think about it at the moment and wants to concentrate on the Challenger Trophy, and then the upcoming tournaments this year.
“I have only short goals now and I don’t want to think about the World Cup. I want to make use of all the opportunities and perform well with both bat and ball whenever I go out for a match.”
U19 Challengers Trophy will begin on November 1st. Soumya Tiwari has been named the captain of Team A.
Special thanks to @wetooplay