Former cricket captain Anjum Chopra tries hand at kabaddi commentary
Birmingham: What happens when a former India cricket captain is approached to do commentary in a kabaddi tournament? Well, if the player happens to be Anjum Chopra, she just walks over to the nearest ground and tries her hand at the sport after accepting the offer.
Anjum is here to do commentary for the Wave World Kabaddi League, an eight-franchise tournament spread across three continents which got underway in London last weekend. Not the least bit surprised at being approached by the organisers of the event, Anjum said she has always been open to exploring sports other than cricket.
The 37-year-old Arjuna and Padma Shri awardee, considered one of the most successful women cricketers from India, said she took up the assignment as it offered her a chance to do something different.
"When I was approached for commentary in the WKL, I tried my hand at it and understand what it is all about. I learnt about the formats of the sport and prepared myself by actually playing it," Anjum told PTI.
"We have all known about kabaddi, it`s a game which we have seen and played while growing up. In fact, kabaddi is one of the sports we have played as part of our cricket training sessions as well. It is good for improving agility and reflexes. So, for me it was about learning something new. I am always trying to learn new things," she said.
"I was not at all surprised when I was approached because end of the day, it`s a sport. I, myself, don`t just play cricket. I also play basketball and I like to keep up with every sport. It gives me a lot of joy," she added.
The veteran, who has played 12 Tests, 127 one-dayers and 18 T20s in a career spanning 17 years, is the eighth-highest run-getter in women`s ODIs, and has featured in four 50-over World Cups, including the 2005 edition in South Africa, where India reached the final.
Excited about the sporting scene in India right now, Anjum said a generation is getting educated about sports other than "men`s cricket" through events like the WKL and the domestic and international events in other sports such as badminton.
"We are not exactly a sporting country. We like to focus on victory and not the journey. But what these leagues are doing is that they are educating a generation of youngsters. This will show results in the future and hopefully then we can claim to be a sporting nation," she said.
"I don`t know what the future of this league is. Nobody can tell that but at this point, it is certainly helping the sport. The players involved are getting good money and a layman is getting to understand the game.
"We have to understand that like any other career, sportspersons also go through different stages of success and failure. The idea is to have the faith even when the chips are down. We have to support those who may not have reached the pinnacle but have it in them to make it," she explained.