BY ARIANA NAYAK
OBHS’s own Disha Dhingra, a sophomore, represented the USA on the Under 19 cricket team during a series of matches that took place in the Caribbean Islands January 22-29 against the Windward Island Cricket Team. Out of all the cricket players under 19 in the country, they selected only 15 to represent the country, and one of them was Disha.
Disha’s academy, DreamCricket, hosted a talent hunt about two and a half years ago, and the scouts selected Disha, allowing her to join the USA U19 training group. Within this training group, the girls underwent a series of tryouts to determine who would be suitable for the U19 and Senior teams. “I had made it to the Senior nationals and the U19 nationals. After nationals, they had selected 14 out of 28 girls for the final squad for the senior team and u19. I was too young for their senior team, but I ended up making it to the u19 team,” Disha said.
Disha described her most memorable moment in her career as the day she got her first USA training clothes and equipment. “It made everything official. I will never forget the first time I got a USA cricket hat and the first time I wore my jersey,” she said.
USA won the series against the Windward Island Cricket Team 3-1. Disha summed up her trip as follows: “Monday was the first match, and the USA won. On Tuesday, I opened the innings, and scored 18 off 21 not out, and USA won. On Thursday, we lost, but it was a close game. The last match was also a very close game, but we ended up winning by 3 runs. I went first change and scored 30.”
According to Disha, this win took a considerable amount of mental preparation. “I made sure that I had practiced enough before the tour and worked on techniques that needed to be tweaked. After that, it was all about me trusting myself, and what I had been practicing,” she said.
Disha’s current success has developed over time. She decided to get a feel for the sport two and a half years ago and has never looked back. “My dad plays cricket, and one day he was just holding the bat, so I took it from him. He threw a ball at me, and I hit a perfect drive according to him, and he told me to play,” Disha says. The soon-to-be prodigy was uninterested in the sport at first, but adjusted after some time, and soon grew passionate about it.
International women’s cricketer Smriti Madhana and international men’s cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, and Shubman Gill, served as inspiration for Disha. “My style of batting is similar to theirs’, so whenever they are on TV, I try to watch and copy them,” she said.
Most importantly, her coaches left a profound imprint on her. “I also won’t forget all the hard work my coaches, specifically my international coach, Deepali Rokade, have put in for me.” Disha said. “Coach Deepali, my coach, and my mentor has always been there for me, and always pushed me to do my best. When I was not happy with the way I was batting, or when my confidence was low, she was always there to motivate me. Without her, I don’t know if I would have ever continued playing, let alone get to the level that I am at today.”
Dhingra’s one-week trip to the Caribbean is just the beginning of many more milestones in her cricket career. “I’m going to continue to play, but I hope to reach new heights and make the USA Senior Team,” she said.
Posted on 2/23/22
Photos provided by Disha Dhingra