The Vijayawada-born R.V. Kalpana, daughter of an auto driver, who is making a comeback as wicketkeeper-batter to the Indian team after a gap of three years, is confident of proving herself in the three-match home series against England in Mumbai later this month.
“I never gave up. Was always confident that if I perform well in domestic cricket I will get a chance, if not this season, next season,” said Kalpana in a chat with Sportstar.
The 22-year-old said she took up cricket, fascinated by the feats of Indian captain Mithali Akka (Mithali Raj) and has no regrets.
“I was confident because of my consistency in domestic cricket, including the recent Challengers at Mulapadu,” said the ticket collector in South Central Railway.
The last time she played for India was against Sri Lanka in the 2016 ODI series.
“Well, life has always been a struggle as I have to take care of my family. My brother is handicapped, my younger sister is a degree student and mother a housewife. I have to help my father in a big way,” she said.
She was determined to play for the country after being told by her coaches Srinivas Reddy and Eashwar on what it means to wear the India colours when they spotted her wearing a ‘gifted’ one. “It is not as easy playing for India as wearing that T-shirt,” they had told her.
Kalpana said she worked really hard to move up the ladder from the time she started playing in 2009. She thanked R.S.R. Murthy of SCR (Mithali’s personal coach) and former Andhra captain V. Chamundeswaranath for the huge support to her in the formative years.
“Now, the dream is not just to play in the World Cup, but to do well too. I look at the forthcoming series as a huge opportunity to showcase my skills when given the chance,” said Kalpana, who is currently training with the Railways team in Visakhapatnam.