Pitch Please: S Yashasri on going from not knowing anything about cricket to becoming part of the World Cup winning team

...and she’s only just begun. 

14 July, 2023
Pitch Please: S Yashasri on going from not knowing anything about cricket to becoming part of the World Cup winning team

Serendipity (n.): When you find something good without looking for it. 

Soppadhandi Yashasri’s love affair with cricket was the best serendipity of her life. She started playing in school and hasn’t stopped since. The bowling all-rounder began her cricketing career with playing for Hyderabad and then went on to be selected for the national Under-19 team and the UP Warriorz team during the Women’s Premier League that took place earlier this year. For Yashasri, cricket has always been about learning, growing, and becoming mentally strong. Read on as Cosmopolitan India chats with her about how she deals with the wins, losses, and everything in between. 

Cosmopolitan India: An article mentioned that you hadn’t thought of playing cricket until your school coach called you to play a one-off game. Tell us a little about your journey.

Soppadhandi Yashasri: Playing cricket was never a goal; it just happened. I used to play basketball. We had an inter-school cricket competition and our coach asked me to try out for it. I was only slightly interested in the game at that point, but I tried bowling and fell in love with it. And thus, I switched from basketball to cricket and it has now become my goal.

CI: Did you watch a lot of cricket? What made you decide to pursue it?

SY: I never watched cricket until recently. Before I started playing the game, I didn’t even know what a boundary is. But I did enjoy playing cricket and I wanted to prove myself. I just kept playing the game and it took me from regional to national level. And any of it wouldn’t have been possible without the opportunities that the Hyderabad Cricket Academy gave me. I got the chance to debut for the seniors at 14. The competition and skill level is completely different there, so, I was always learning and striving to get better.

CI: How was the support from your family and friends? Do you think your journey was different from the women who played before you? 


SY: I never had obstacles in my career. I was lucky to keep getting opportunities to prove myself. My parents supported me through it all and would motivate me to keep playing and be disciplined. They also instilled a lot of mental strength in me. And my journey is definitely different from a Mithali Raj’s or a Jhulan Goswami’s—during their time, women’s cricket was never in the limelight, but I got the exposure of playing the inaugural under-19 World Cup and the inaugural WPL! Women’s cricket is being noticed now and I am so fortunate to be playing in this generation. 

CI: How was the experience of playing for UP Warriorz? 

SY: It was an unforgettable experience. If it weren’t for the WPL, I wouldn’t have learnt so much or gotten the chance to be in the presence of international players like Ellisa Hayley and Grace Harris among others. I wanted to make the most of the experience. In my conversations with some of the Indian senior players, I realised cricket, at the regional or national level, is more than skills and competition and I have so much ahead of me. 

CI: Would you say luck plays an important role in an athlete’s journey? 

SY: Of course. You need both talent and luck in cricket. And I believe luck always favours the person who works hard. 

CI: How is the camaraderie with other team players?


SY: Until about a year ago, I didn’t know any players outside of Hyderabad. Now, I have met so many new people and made such good friends with players from across the country. 

CI: You played for India for the first time against Scotland. Take us through your thoughts and emotions when you got the selection call? 

SY: Initially, I was in the standbys. But the evening before the game against Scotland, I got a call saying I would be playing in the eleven. That news was hard to digest; I was elated to get a chance to be on the field. 

CI: How do you mentally prepare before a match? 

SY: I keep it simple. I’m a bowling all-rounder, so I open with the new ball. Before a match, I usually visualise and think about the different ways in which I can play for a specific batter. I prepare task lists for myself to accomplish that day.
CI: Was this something you were taught by a senior player? 

SY: At the NCA (National Cricket Association) camps, they also have mental strength training classes and I learned that your mind-set is very important for a game. Of course, I will always be inspired by all the cricketers, but every player has a different mind-set and I learned that I should work in a way that suits me. 

CI: How do you deal with losing a game?

SY: I think about it, analyse my performance, see what I am lacking and what I need to learn, and then move on. It is okay to lose a game, but learning from that is important for me. 

CI: How did winning the under-19 World Cup feel?

SY: That day will be etched in my mind for a very long time. We were ecstatic. We celebrated all night. 

CI: Has there ever been a conflict between cricket and academics? Are you still studying? 

SY: No, there hasn’t been a conflict. I’m grateful my school and college have been extremely supportive with my attendance and my marks. I am in my third year of undergraduate studies and I’m pursuing a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) degree. 

CI: What is your hope for the future of women’s cricket in India? What advice would you give to young girls wanting to play the sport? 

SY: With women’s cricket being spoken about so much today, I only have to say: keep working hard, stay focused, and believe. 

CI: What is your biggest dream? 


SY: Wear the blues, play for India and win the World Cup. 

'Pitch Please,' is a series of interviews that delves deep into stories that lie beyond the boundary. In this series, we take you through the journey of the pioneers and the youngest of the lot and give you an insight into their mind and heart.