WPL 2: UP Warriorz's Vrinda Dinesh eager to meet Alyssa Healy | Crickit

WPL 2: UP Warriorz's Vrinda Dinesh eager to meet Alyssa Healy

By, Mumbai
Feb 14, 2024 10:57 PM IST

The Bengaluru player talks about the life-transforming auction where she was the 3rd-highest buy with UP splurging ₹1.3 crore. The league starts on February 23

For Vrinda Dinesh, there have been two occasions when her life took dramatic turns. The first was in 2014. Growing up in Bengaluru, she would only play gully cricket with boys but as a 13-year-old looking for a summer sport, she took up proper coaching. And merely six months later, she was selected for Karnataka U-19 as the youngest member of the squad.

Vrinda Dinesh (Instagram)
Vrinda Dinesh (Instagram)

The second life-altering event happened last December. At 22, she became the third-most expensive player in the Women’s Premier League 2024 auction after UP Warriorz picked her for 1.3 crore. While her rapid rise initially came as a pleasant surprise, the massive bid she got at the WPL auction left her numb.

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“When the auction was taking place, I was in Raipur with the Karnataka team for the Women’s U-23 T20 Trophy,” said Vrinda.

“It was during practice that I got to know as a friend of mine was whispering to another teammate and I overheard. She just mentioned 1.3 and for a second I thought she meant 1.3 lakh, but then I realised and just stood there. I didn’t know what to do, how to take it in. It didn’t seep in for a long time. It was a very nice moment, one that I will cherish forever.”

Despite starting young and being a consistent performer, the opening batter faced a lean phase before she discovered the best in her game. In the 2019-20 season, she was picked for the Karnataka U-23 team but ended up warming the bench for about 22 consecutive games.

“I’d say that was a turning point in my life. It was a phase where I had to get back, sort my life out and get my cricket in place. I worked really hard on my game from there,” she said.

“I had to change my lifestyle and prioritise cricket a lot more. Until then, I would practice for just an hour or two and then go back and waste the rest of the day. I changed all that and began working hard on my skills, developing my mindset and building my fitness.”

When she finally got a chance in the Senior One-Day Trophy 2021-22, she hit consecutive centuries and finished with 348 runs in six innings. In the same tournament the next season, she scored 477 runs in 11 innings. Making her India A debut last year after replacing the injured S Yashasri, she top-scored with a 29-ball 36 in the final to help her team win the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Hong Kong.

“Cricket has always been in my blood,” said Vrinda, whose father, uncle and cousin also played the game. “My parents always lent their support and encouraged me to make a career out of cricket. They kept an open mind, never hesitated and gave me freedom to chart my path.”

Former Australia captain Meg Lanning is someone Vrinda admires, but it is Virat Kohli who she has always idolised.

“The way he goes about his game, his work ethic, eating habits, and his commitment on and off the field,” she said. “He’s someone I’ve always followed and wanted to emulate. If I ever meet him, I’d like to ask him about how he keeps pushing himself consistently.”

Heading into her maiden WPL season -- it runs from February 23 to March 17 -- the youngster is feeling nervous and excited.

“I’m looking forward to meeting Alyssa Healy (UP Warriorz skipper), and just the experience of sharing the dressing room with Indian and overseas players, learning from them. I’m also looking forward to the vibe at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Being a local girl and playing for an away team against RCB, it would be nice to get the crowd’s support.”

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