Harmanpreet Kaur, Right-hand cricketer represents the Indian cricket team in international formats


"We had no clue that it was women's day," says Harmandar as his wife, Satwinder, brings the shirt out for me to see. "Soon after Harman's birth, I bought the first pair of shorts and this shirt I saw at a shop near the hospital. The illustration [of a batsman driving the ball] and the words Good Batting caught my eye."Tales about the shirt, Harmandar says, have been part of family lore ever since. But it wasn't until Harmanpreet, now the India T20I captain and ODI vice-captain, smashed 171 not out against Australia in the  2017 World Cup Semi-Final that her story began to be told widely outside of the Bhullars' house, in Punjab's Moga district.

"Earlier, some of my father's friends used to come to see me off at the airport [before overseas tours] and say, 'Why do you need to attempt big hits when you know girls do not have the power to clear the rope? Take only singles and doubles, Na?'" Harmanpreet says with a laugh during the first of my three conversations with her. "I used to keep quiet. After watching last year's World Cup, they started believing maybe my teammates and I can clear the rope."

Harmanpreet is a batting allrounder who modeled her aggressive style of play on that of her idol Virender Sehwag. But it was watching the India men's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane's restraint at a nets session in 2016 that taught her the value of patience. And though her popularity in the cricketing landscape is nowhere close to Rahane's, the fact that posters of both players (who are ambassadors for a leading sportswear brand) came up at the National Cricket Academy's refurbished gym earlier this year is not bereft of symbolism. It represents the post-2017 World Cup era for women's cricket in India, one with Harmanpreet at its center.

"'Cricketer' - that's what I used to say as a kid whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to become," Harmanpreet says. "I had no clue how I could become a cricketer, which team to play for. All I knew was that I wanted to be a cricketer."Her younger brother, Gary (Gurjinder) Bhullar, and his friends would make fun of her. "'Humarein Paas to scope Hain,' he would say. 'Tu kya Sehwag ke saath open karegi?'"

The poster of Harmanpreet at the NCA is quite different from a picture of her that takes pride in its place in the room in her home in Punjab's Moga district that houses her trophies. Part of a collage made by childhood friend Hartaj Singh Sodhi, it features 17-year-old Harmanpreet posing with the trophy from her first school nationals in 2006-07, with Parveen Khan, one of her best friends and later a Punjab team-mate, by her side.

"The branded sports shoes she's showing off in the photo, those were mine," says Yadwinder Singh Sodhi, Hartaj's older brother, and Harmanpreet's first coach. "Harman didn't know what brand it was. She was just happy to wear it."

At the heart of Harmanpreet's rise lay Yadwinder's tutelage. "He used to make me practice with the most Bekaar [worthless] bats," she says. "Even the balls he would get used to being without a seam."He would set me a target for my batting sessions: send at least half the total number of balls beyond a tree at the edge of the ground. Or hit 100 or 150 sixes by late evening."

Until a Nestlé manufacturing facility came up in the district is 1961, the district was largely identifiable as the birthplace of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. About 30km south of Harmanpreet's house in Dunneke is Rode, the ancestral village of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the controversial militant/martyr figure who was at the center of the Sikh separatist movement in the 1980s. About as far to the north is Daulewala, the "drug capital of Punjab", close to the border with Pakistan.

The first markers of urban habitation that meet the eye upon entry into "Moggya", as the locals know it, are signboards atop roadside tea stalls. Diljeet Dosanjh, a Punjabi actor-singer, whose claim to national fame is starring in a Bollywood movie on Punjab's drug problem, Udta Punjab can be spotted chugging cola in most of them. The streets and thoroughfares are dotted with billboards for visa agencies and for classes promising to help you ace the IELTS test for international study, work, and migration.

"I had this friend whose only life goal as a teenager was to marry an NRI [Non-Resident Indian] and settle in Canada," says Harmanpreet, whose younger sister, Hemjeet, is married to an NRI. Brother Gary, a former university-level cricketer, who is now among the more popular names on the local "Cosco cricket" circuit, doesn't see himself spending his life in Moga.

It was thanks to his father Kamaldheesh Sodhi's love of cricket that a cricket academy came up in Gian Jyoti School, where Harmanpreet went on to study, in Moga's Tarapur village, in 2006. It is even now one of only two cricket-training centers for girls in Moga. If not for Kamaldheesh, Harmanpreet's journey from playing step-out cricket shots with a hockey stick ("Papa used to teach me hockey but I only liked cricket"), to playing cricket with boys - her dupatta tied around her waist - might have ended at the Guru Nanak Dev College ground in the neighborhood.

"Sodhi sir used to come to walk at the ground," Harmanpreet says of the time, around 2006-07, when she first met the man she considers her godfather. "He asked me one day if I liked playing cricket or football. I told him I wanted to be a cricketer." Kamaldheesh offered Harmanpreet free training and accommodation and convinced her father to let her join his academy.

Harmandar, 55, says he could have never been able to afford to give his daughter the platform the Sodhi's gave her. The Bhullars used to raise livestock, selling milk from their four buffaloes for income to supplement Harmandar's salary as a clerk in the Moga district court. Having two siblings meant Harmanpreet often had to make do with the cheapest bat available, or be denied gear altogether.

A former state-level basketball and handball player, and club cricketer, Harmandar raised Harmanpreet "like a son", because "I wanted her to be the athlete I couldn't be," he says, a year on from the 2017 World Cup final. "When Harman used to come with me to the evening cricket matches, many from the neighborhood said, 'Ladki ko Khilaake kya Karoge?' [What will you get by making a girl play cricket?] But I never cared about what others had to say."

Harmandar says Harmanpreet, the oldest child in the family, was always responsible. When he wanted to take a loan to buy a new house, she persuaded him against it. "We used to live in a small house, and he felt that as an India cricketer I deserved better," she says. "I didn't want him to bear that enormous financial burden. We bought this house only when I was in a position to."

That was about three years ago. By the time the Bhullars moved into their new house, Harmanpreet had moved from Moga to Mumbai. Diana Edulji, the former India captain, currently a member of the Committee of Administrators of the BCCI, was at the time a sports officer at Western Railways. She had followed Harmanpreet's all-around talent with interest since the latter's days in junior cricket. Edulji requested Sachin Tendulkar to write a letter to the Railway ministry, getting Harmanpreet a job as a chief office superintendent in Mumbai with Western Railways in 2014.

Harmanpreet Kaur was born on 8th March 1989 in the Moga district of Punjab. Her father, Harmandar Singh Bhullar, was a former Volleyball and Basketball player, while her mother Satwinder Kaur is a housewife. Harmanpreet Kaur has a sister, Hemjeet, who works as a professor at Guru Nanak College in Moga. 

In her formative years, Harmanpreet Kaur played cricket under the watchful eyes of her father, who used to teach her the length and breadth of the game. Later, in a bid to take up the sport professionally, the Indian cricketer joined Gian Jyoti School Academy, which was 30 km away from her house. 

She made her debut T20 debut in the 2009 ICC Women’s Twenty20 against England. She scored 8 runs off 7 balls in that game. The world saw a glimpse of her power-hitting ability for the first time in a T20 game against England in Mumbai in 2010. He scored a quickfire 33-run knock, helping her side win the game by 30 runs. Harmanpreet Kaur captained the Indian Cricket Team for the first time in the final of the 2012 Women’s T20 Asia Cup. Captain  MIthali Raj and  Jhulan Goswami both missed out on the final due to injuries. Harmanpreet led the side to win the final after beating Pakistan by 81 runs. 

The 2013 Bangladesh tour of India saw her leading the team. In the second ODI match of the series, Kaur notched the second century of her ODI career. She was the leading run-getter in the series with 195 runs to her name at an average of 97.50.

Harmanpreet Kaur surprised one and all after picking 9 wickets in a Test match against South Africa, thereby helping India win the match by an innings and 34 runs. The year 2016 saw her becoming the first Indian cricketer to be signed by an overseas Twenty20 franchise in Sydney Thunder. She was signed for the 2016-17 season. 

Harmanpreet Kaur became a household name in world cricket after playing a stellar knock against Australia in the semi-final of the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup. She took the world by storm after playing 171-run knock-off just 115 balls. Her knock helped her team go into the finals. Harmanpreet’s 171 is the second-highest score by an Indian in one-day internationals. The year 2017 also saw reaching into the top-10 of ICC Women’s ODI player rankings. With that, she became the second Indian cricketer to feature in the top 10 after Mithali Raj.  Harmanpreet Kaur became the captain of India’s T20 side for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20, held in the West Indies. 

She wrote her name in the history books after scoring a century in the first match of the tournament against New Zealand. She scored 103 runs off 51 balls, becoming the first Indian woman to score a century in WT20s. Harmanpreet Kaur ended the tournament as the highest run-getter for India, scoring 183 runs in five matches. The following year, she was included in the Sydney Thunder’s squad for the 2018-19 Women’s Big Bash League. In January 2020, she led India in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia. India couldn’t win the tournament as they lost to Australia in the finals.

Harmanpreet Kaur is a professional Indian cricketer, born on 8 March 1989 in Moga, Punjab, India. Harmanpreet plays for the Indian women's cricket team as an allrounder, she is right-handed and bowls right-arm off break. Her cricketing style is similar to that of legendary batsman Virender Sehwag, which is a simple theory of “see ball hit ball”. She is also the first woman to score a century in the Women's Twenty20 International match.

Kaur was once again given the captaincy in October 2018 for the 2018 ICC Women's World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies. She was in the limelight because of her amazing performances in the last few years. She scored a cracking 103 off 51 balls against New Zealand and was the first woman to score a century in the Women’s T20I.

Harmanpreet Kaur ( real name Jhanavi Kaur Bhullar) is a right-hand batter and a right arm off-spinner. She is known for her ability to power hit and crush the opposition with her destructive batting style. She made her ODI debut on March 7, 2009, against the arch-rivals Pakistan and since then she has been a crucial part of the Indian side. She is known for her extraordinary all-around performance. Spectators enjoy her batting as she holds the rare talent of hitting sixes out of the park. Maybe that’s the reason why she inspires Virender Sehwag the most. It is interesting to know that she even had a poster of him hung on the wall of her house.

She used to practice a lot of sixes on her local ground and the coach didn’t let her take off until she would hit enough sixes out off the ground. She started developing her aggressive game since then. Her father was an aggressive batter which made her an aggressive batter too. She believes in dominating the game by hitting big shots. She holds a unique combination of patience and aggression which makes her a special player altogether.

She made her ODI debut on 7th March 2009 v Pakistan at the age of twenty in the 2009 women’s world cup game which was played in Bradman, Oval. She bowled 4 overs in that match and conceded 10 runs taking one wicket as well. She made her T20 debut in June 2009 against England at the county ground, Taunton in the ICC World T20 game. She scored 8 runs off 7 balls in that game.

With her devastating 171 not out in a World Cup Crucial game against England, she has grabbed a lot of attention from viewers all around the globe. That innings had actually given a boost/ push to the women’s cricket and was a game-changer for the sport in the country too. Prior to that innings, people barely followed women’s cricket but post that match the story was totally contrary.

She is an impactful player as she holds many runs and wickets by her name. By scoring 2372 runs in One Day International and 2038 in twenty20 international which includes 4 centuries and 17 half-centuries combining both the formats. Her best figures in balling include 2/16 in ODI’s and 4/23 in the t20s. It is interesting to know that she was a medium pacer before.

Not only in Indian pitches, the Moga girl has been influential and a crowd puller in the Big Bash league also which is held in Australia. She was recognized as the player of the tournament in her debut BBL season. In 2016, she played for Sydney Thunders and in 2018, she represented Supernovas.

With that ton, Harmanpreet overtook her captain Mithali Raj and opening batter Smriti Mandhana in the list of most centuries by an Indian in the history of women’s world cup. Mithali and Harmanpreet were tied at the top spot with two centuries each before Mandhana struck her third of the event today.

Now, with three centuries at the marquee event to her name, the 33-year-old has now dislodged her two teammates from the top spot. Known for her power-hitting, the star batter recorded her first world cup century in 2013 when she made an unbeaten 107 against England.

Harmanpreet Kaur is an Indian Cricketer and the captain of the Indian Women's T20 Team. The most prominent highlight of India’s all-rounding superstar Harmanpreet Kaur has to be those 171 runs that she hit against Australia in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals, which helped India proceed into the finals. Many compared her heroics to that of Kapil Dev’s 175* against Zimbabwe.

Harmanpreet grew up in the dusty lanes of Moga in Punjab. She was from a lower-middle-class family, and hence her family had a typical conservative mindset. Harmanpreet Kaur always loved playing cricket. However, she was unsurprisingly rebuffed when she finally expressed the wish to her parents, Harmander Singh Bhullar and Satvinder Singh Bhullar.

Nevertheless, despite her parents playing the foil in every possible manner, Kaur succeeded in pursuing her dream. She would practice at every possible opportunity she got, ignoring the resistance from her family. Even worse, Harmanpreet had to play with men in the initial years, a practice that found disapproval amongst her kin and kith.

Her talent did not go in vain as coach Kamaldeesh Singh Sodhi soon spotted her. He owns a school in Moga and he saw something in Harmanpreet. Sodhi had a significant role to play in convincing Kaur’s parents to let her play the sport. He also provided initial financial support to her.

Kamaldeesh’s son, Yadwinder Singh Sodhi, would coach her. Fast forward four years and the 20-year-old had made her debut for India in 2009 against Pakistan. She made a big of the opportunity given to her and ticked all the right boxes. The highlight of her debut was that she played big shots with such ease. Harmanpreet ’s problems aggravated when she couldn’t find a decent job to support her ambitions, despite getting the national call. She knocked on many doors for employment, most notably at Punjab Police.

Harmanpreet didn’t give up despite all the rejections. She finally landed a job with Indian Railways, on the recommendation of a former cricketer and the first-ever Indian women captain Diana Edulji. She moved to India’s batting squad in Mumbai in 2014 after getting the Indian Railways job.

One may think the bitter episode of rejections and resistance would have made Kaur weak. However, her coach, Yadwinder Singh Sodhi, has a different view. He feels it is this experience that contributed to making Kaur a strong and resilient cricketer. But Punjab Police and her family’s rejection did reflect an important aspect among the general public: Lack of respect (or interest) for the women’s cricket.

However, things started to change when BCCI took full control of the women’s team in 2006. In 2017, they made it to the finals of the Women’s World Cup which meant that the women’s team would get national recognition and following. Social media had played an essential role in this revival.

Harmanpreet moved up from school cricket to the Ferozpur district team, Within two years, Kaur entered the Punjab senior team. However, a well-balanced squad meant she had to wait for her name in the starting XI. However, at the same time, she continued to perform well for the Punjab U 19 team.

Kaur starred for Punjab as they went to become Zonal Champions by beating stronger teams like Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Haryana. She then broke into the North Zone team in the U-19 Challenger Trophy. Soon Kaur was named in the 30 probable for the Women’s World Cup in 2009. 

However, Kaur was not confident about her selection after attending the training camp at Bangalore’s National Cricket Academy. “That was the first time I came to know about fitness and gym sessions. We were doing none of it back home.” She returned to Moga after the camp with some self-doubts. 

Just one win away from ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 glory, Harmanpreet Kaur could be about to throw the biggest birthday bash of her life. But regardless of whether or not she lifts the trophy on her 31st birthday, the India captain knows the occasion will be one to savor forever. Kaur is on the brink of making history. When she leads India onto the MCG on Sunday, she will become the first woman to ever captain India in a T20 World Cup Final.

It’s not just her country’s first appearance in the showpiece, but also one that could break history by setting a world record attendance for a women’s sporting event. But it’s not just about the history books, either. Sunday will be a special day for the skipper in more ways than one with her parents traveling from Moga to see her in action – her mother due to watching her play cricket for the first time.

If she was to mark the celebration with a win with them on International Women’s Day, it would be the most fitting of moments for a player who has revolutionized women’s cricket in her country. As a kid, Kaur used to get teased for saying she wanted to be a cricketer when she grew up. But that clearly only fuelled her with more motivation to achieve new levels of greatness.

She featured in the inaugural Women’s T20 World Cup in 2009, but it took a while, and plenty of patience fine-tuning her game as a go-to batter and off-spinner, for Kaur to establish herself as a name in the side. In the wake of a disappointing home World Cup, where India won just one game in the group stages, Kaur was handed the captaincy reigns in 2016 – and that’s where it all changed.

Kaur’s innings of an unbeaten 171 to flatten Australia in the 2017 World Cup semi-final sparked a new triumph for women’s cricket in India. It did more than take them to the sold-out final at Lord’s. #Harmanpreet was trending on Twitter and suddenly she was the leading voice to take women’s cricket to the next level, both at the elite and grassroots levels.

When it comes to career milestones, Kaur’s got them aplenty. In 2016, she became the first Indian woman to sign an overseas T20 contract when she signed for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League champions Sydney Thunder. In her debut season, her aggressiveness saw her win plenty of games while finishing as the Thunder’s lead run-scorer, also offering an all-around show with the ball. And later that year, she led India to their sixth straight Asia Cup crown.

In 113 T20I innings, she has shone on all fronts, scoring 2,182 runs and taking 29 wickets since her debut against England in 2009. She may have been outshone on the batting front by the likes of Shafali Verma in the run-up to this year’s Final, but there’s no doubting Kaur is capable of stepping up in the middle.

With her 183 total runs at the 2018 T20 World Cup, the captain has scored the second-highest number of runs for India at the tournament, 32 behind Mithali Raj’s 208 in 2014. Kaur has only hit double-digits once in India’s four wins Down Under and while she knows she cannot beat Raj’s record in one last outing at the MCG, she will know exactly how important it is to step up in the showpiece.

Hosts Australia is used to big stage success, with 12 of this year’s squad having lifted the trophy in 2018 – and they will want the show to be theirs in front of a huge crowd at the MCG on Sunday, especially after losing to India in their opening game on home soil. But if there’s one player with a track record of downing their hopes, it’s Kaur. On Sunday, India will no doubt be looking to release their not-so-secret weapon once again.

Harmanpreet Kaur created history on Thursday for Indian cricket when she scored an unbeaten 171 runs from 115 balls with 20 fours and seven sixes coming in her rapid-fire inning that thumped the Australian attack and created a big ask for them while batting second at Derby. In the semi-final, she became the first Indian player – male or female – to score over 150 runs in an ODI knockout contest. This has only been done by six players in the history of the sport – now including Harmaanpreet. She also became just the second Indian woman to record a score of over 150 runs in ODIs. Deepti Sharma has a score higher than Harmanpreet’s in women’s ODI history.

Her records don’t just end there. She also became the highest run-scorer in Women’s World Cup knockout games – finals, semi-finals, and quarter-finals – of the tournament – and the third-highest overall. Australia’s Karen Rolton had made 107 not out in the final of the 2005 World Cup which was the previous best in the knockout matches and the only century as well.

Harmanpreet now has the highest score by an Indian in Women’s World Cups as she edged Mithali Raj’s 109 runs – which stood for just six days – against New Zealand in the crucial encounter that helped qualify the team for the semi-finals.

Harmanpreet paced her innings beautifully to start steadily before picking up pace and obliterating the Australian attack including scoring 22 runs in one over from Ashleigh Gardner. In that over, Harmanpreet smacked two fours and two sixes to hurt her bowling figures. The Indian batsman scored her first 50 runs from 64 balls, second 50 runs in 26 balls, and took the level up a serious notch for the final 50 in just 17 balls.

Women’s cricket across the globe continues to keep better and better. The past decade has seen a significant increase in the rise of women’s cricket. With cricket now being played in the remotest corners of the world, it is quickly becoming a source of women's empowerment. Over the years, we have seen several talented women cricketers emerge onto the big stage. Some even went head-to-head with their male counterparts. India has been contributing greatly to producing quality women cricketers. These include the likes of Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Jhulan Goswami, and many more. Yet another promising talent is Harmanpreet Kaur. One of India’s finest, Harmanpreet Kaur has been India’s most promising all-rounder to date.

In small homes and swelling cricket academies, in her native Punjab town and its neighboring villages, the star of the Indian women’s team at the World Cup, Harmanpreet Kaur, is firing many a dream. Daksh Panwar & Nitin Sharma capture some. Ditching a track about twirled mustaches, the burly Ludhianvi cab driver switches to the Sufi singer Arif Lohar’s mellifluous rendition of Jugni. The folk instruments Chimta and Tumbi tug at the heartstrings before the words Alif Allah chamber di Booti in Lohar’s sonorous voice filled the car. It’s to this apt soundtrack that we start our journey to understand the growing cult of Harmanpreet Kaur in the heart of Punjab.

Apt because Harmanpreet, India’s latest cricket icon, isn’t unlike ‘Jugni’, which means a female firefly and, metaphorically, an unencumbered spirit wandering from place to place. The 28-year-old from Moga illuminated the recent edition of the ICC Women’s World Cup with her incandescent batting. And in doing so, she forced her way into or ‘Jaa Vadi’ as our folk heroine does in the ballads the imagination of a people hitherto indifferent to women’s cricket.

Moga stands 70-odd km from Ludhiana, past the chimneys and shopping complexes of the industrial city, and down vast stretches of paddy fields. Harmanpreet, back home for the first time after the World Cup in  England, is supposed to have a second roadshow here in three days.

In order to understand the Harmanpreet Kaur phenomenon, it’s imperative to know the place. Moga sits close to the geographical center of Punjab. This predominantly rural district, in many ways, typifies the state. A  Google search of news stories about Moga before July 20, 2017, paints a grim picture. The top headlines are all about misogyny, narcotics, political impunity and corruption, infrastructural underdevelopment, and farm distress.

All across Moga are posters and banners offering ‘IELTS coaching’ and ‘Canada, Australia, New Zealand Visa’. The town, like the rest of Punjab, appears almost febrile in its passion to go abroad. But breaking this monopoly in the local ad-scape that is, electricity poles and bus-stand walls is a smiling Harmanpreet in the Indian colors. She is asking you to join whichever private cricket academy, seeking to ride the Harmanpreet gravy train, has plastered her poster at a given place.

To be sure, she was already something of a local celebrity here but post the World Cup in fact, to be precise, post the semi-final against Australia she has been elevated to the title of ‘Moggey te Punjab di Shaan (The Pride of Moga and Punjab)’.

“Us Ek innings Ne sab change Kar Diya, sir (That one innings in the semi-final changed everything),” says Kamal Arora, secretary of the Moga District Cricket Association, sitting in his medical store just off the highway that is dotted with coaching institutes and immigration consultancy firms. He is referring to Harmanpreet’s 171 against six-time world champions Australia, an innings of such dominance in a knockout match that it has few parallels in the history of ODI cricket, including men’s.

Sartaj Singh Sodhi, who runs the school started by his father and cricket enthusiast Kamal Sodhi, narrates how the institution discovered its most famous student. The Guru Nanak Dev College ground in Moga town, says Hartaj, is where the local residents go for their morning walk. “Once my father was there taking a stroll and he saw this 15-year-old girl playing cricket with boys. The ground is huge, but even then she had such power in her strokes that she was clearing the boundary with ease. My father was impressed with her cricketing basics, athleticism, and power.”

The senior Sodhi and his elder son, Yadwinder Singh, who is a cricket coach, approached Harmanpreet’s father and asked him to allow her to pursue cricket at their school. “They told him, ‘Aap Apni Ladki Hamein de do (Give your daughter to us)’. Harmanpreet’s father was stunned, ‘What are you saying!’. We explained that we will take care of her cricket, her education, and even accommodation,” says Hartl.

Harmanpreet’s father, Harmandar Singh Bhullar, was a clerk in a local court but a sports enthusiast. In a story now part of family lore, when Harmanpreet was born, he had got her a T-shirt that said on the back, ‘Good Batsman’. Nevertheless, the sudden offer by the Sodhi's to take his daughter under their wings stumped Bhullar

Two of the academy’s upcoming stars are Ramanpreet Kaur, 16, and Sukhpreet Kaur, 15. They were among the seven ‘Gyan Jyotians’ who represented Moga at the inter-district tournament in June where their team finished joint winners alongside Chandigarh. Both Ramanpreet and Sukhpreet, who hail from nearby villages, grew up on stories of Harmanpreet’s exploits. In due course, they informed their parents that they too wanted to play cricket like “Harman didi”.

Sukhpreet’s father Gurmail Singh is a small farmer in Sadda Singhwala village who also preaches at a gurdwara. “We were hesitant initially. Most villagers said, ‘How can a girl play?’,” says Gurmail, 49. His wife Paramjeet Kaur adds, “Even at the gurdwara, somebody said that girls should not play as the times are bad. In our village, four-five girls have eloped to get married.” Gurmail spoke to Kamal Sodhi for reassurance, before sending Sukhpreet to Gyan Jyoti.

Three months after she had started playing, she broke her nose when a rising ball hit her flush in the face. “Pind wale Kehinde me ki Hunn ayah kidding hoya (The villagers now say how will she get married). But we understand that if she plays cricket and gets her chance, then like Harman she will also make it big and face the world on her own,”

He is also anxious because of the drug menace in the region. “You need to be more watchful of the boys. Her brother is 20 and goes to Moga for IELTS (International English Language Testing System) coaching, and we call him every hour. We call Raman only once a day. We are proud of how she manages,” says Gurjant, as relatives and neighbors start pouring in at the family’s sprawling farmhouse upon hearing that media persons have come to meet Ramanpreet.

Kamal Arora’s forehead creases as he tries to recollect the last male cricketer from Moga to represent the state in first-class cricket. “It’s been 22 years since the district was formed, but not a single one,” he finally says. “In this time, there have been many women cricketers who have gone on to play for the state. And Harman, of course, has gone farther than all of them.”

Of the six cricket academies in Moga, three are exclusively for women. In contrast, some of Punjab’s traditional cricketing centers, such as Patiala, Jalandhar, and Ludhiana, don’t even have a full women’s team of own for the inter-district tournaments. They have to field a combined team, says Arora.

It’s a typical Sarkari school: the building underwhelming, the paint peeling. But in a corner of the premises, an incongruous sight meets the eyes. Three adjacent nets stand side by side, with scores of girls practicing. The school’s cricket academy came up in 2013 the same year that Harmanpreet gave the surest glimpse of her potential with a century against England in the last edition of the World Cup. It was also in 2013 that she became India’s vice-captain and even led the team in Mithali Raj’s stead for a series.

In the four years since the academy has made big strides. “When we started training, there would be 10-12 girls who opted for cricket. Now we have more than 40 girls,” says Prabhdeep Singh, a chemistry teacher and cricket enthusiast who helped set up the academy. “With the help of an NRI, we collected Rs 1.32 lakh, laid two pitches, and gave kits to the players.”

But despite the fact that the facilities and coaching at the Rode academy are free, there are other hurdles to cross. Unlike, say, Gyan Jyoti, where most girls are from lower-middle or middle class, upper-caste families, almost all cricketers at Rode hail from Dalit or other weaker sections. Studies and cricket are fine, but they are also expected to work in order to put food on the table.

The Rode school’s brightest prospects are the spin sisters Daljeet Kaur and Lakhbir Kaur, the youngest two of a Dalit laborer’s five daughters. “Lakhbir was one and a half years old when my wife died. I sold children’s clothes door-to-door on a bicycle and later worked in a brick kiln. The girls would also work on the farms. When they told me about cricket, I told them to give their best,” says their father Jagjeet Singh.

Name Harmanpreet Kaur
Full Name Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar 
Nickname Harman
Profession Indian woman cricketer
Major teams India Women (2009-Present)
Punjab Women (2006-07, 2013-14)
Railways Women (2013-Present)
Lancashire Thunder (2018-19)
Manchester Originals (2021)
Melbourne Renegades (2021-Present)
Supernovas (2018-Present)
Sydney Thunder (2016-Present)
Date of Birth March 8, 1989
Age (In 2022) 33 Years
Birth Place Moga, Punjab, India
Hometown Moga, Punjab, India
Nationality Indian
Religion Sikhism
Mother Tongue Punjabi
Zodiac / Sun sign Pisces
Height in centimeters- 160 cm
in meters- 1.60 m
in Feet Inches- 5ft 3in
Eye Colour Black
Hair Colour Black
Father Harmandar Singh Bhullar (Volleyball and Basketball player)
Mother Satwinder Kaur
Brother(s) Garry Bhullar
Sister(s) Hemjeet Kaur
Playing role Allrounder
Batting style Right-handed bat
Bowling style Right-arm off-break
Coach/Mentor Kamaldeesh Singh Sodhi
Test debut August 13, 2014, vs England
ODI debut March 7, 2009, vs Pakistan
T20I debut June 11, 2009, vs England
School Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya, Jalandhar
College Not Attended
Educational Qualification Intermediate

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