Interview, National

Rubina Chhetry: It was extremely challenging for us to beat mighty APF

Nepal Police Club (NPC) introduced their women’s team for the first time in Ninth National Games. Interestingly, national skipper Rubina Chhetry’s young crew clinched the gold medal defeating Armed Police Force (APF) Club in the final.

APF ruled national women’s cricket for a long time, and now they seem to have a challenger. In the seven editions of the Prime Minister Cup Women’s National Tournament, APF have made their way to the final in all seven seasons, clinching the title five times. 

Nepal Police Women

Police formed a young, energetic side under experienced Rubina Chhetry and debuted in national games. Following the footstep of the Men’s team, Police club bagged the gold in women’s cricket too. Rubina’s side seemed perfectly balanced in both the bowling and batting departments. The team had experienced pacers and genuine spinners as well. Moreover, the batting sector was filled with a quality allrounder, anchor, and a good finisher.

Cricnepal’s Correspondent, Sandip Poudel, talked with Rubina Chhetry about her team clinching the gold medal in the debut tournament.

Q. How is the feeling after clinching a gold medal in a debut tournament?

A. Very proud and happy feeling because everyone had an extremely appreciable dedication. Girls stayed in the barrack and trained well, leaving the festival, and also we set a plan that worked well for us.

Q. Month back, Police won the gold medal in men’s cricket, so was there any sort of instruction or motivation from the Men’s team?

A. No, nothing like that, but the Boys (Sunil Dhamala and Kushal Bhurtel in particular) were also willing to see us clinch the gold medal. The men’s team were acknowledged for their success by DIG, and they told us to do our best for the glory simultaneously. 

Q. There was some sort of domination of APF in women’s cricket. Has NPC emerged as a new powerhouse?

A. I don’t like to give us a powerhouse tag. APF has senior players, so I chose junior players to flourish them more and provide a message of competition, creating more backup players. I just thought of making a solid base and producing more players.

Q. How was the experience of captaining the utterly new team set up?

A.There was no problem at all, eight girls were from the national squad. I continuously coordinate with the players to make them feel more comfortable. Moreover, Some of the ladies are frightened and feel difficult to talk with me, so I go to them and talk to create a healthy environment. And also, we assembled 15-20 days earlier, so it was easy for me to set up the team. 

Q. Very low scores were seen throughout the tournament. Was there any issue or kind of pitch factor?

A. No, no, not any pitch factor. We were playing after more than three months after a devastating result in an Asia Cup qualifier. We were so wretched after the result, and I personally needed two months or so to recover from that incident. That somehow affected the game, and we gotta accept the fact our batting is fragile too. We have maximum matches this year, so hopefully, with better resources by the board, we can improve in the coming days. 

Q. What was NPC’s strong aspect?

A. Most of the players were young, so fitness was one of our side’s vital aspects. And also, respect towards each other created a better team environment.

Q. Kabita Kunwar was seen opening the inning, was it some strategy, or she’s focusing more on batting?

A. We see her as an allrounder, having good batting talent. Hence, She batting at the top created a balance in our batting sector. Also, the plan was to allow youngsters to bat at the top and me to play as a finisher, same as the national team. Furthermore, they batted freely, assuming that I am yet to bat at down the order. 

Q. From your point of view, who was the stand-out player for NPC in the tournament?

A. Kabita Joshi – She was terrific in her finishing role. Also, Samjhana Khadka and Kabita Kunwar did a fine job.

Rubina Chhetri, Kabita Joshi
Rubina Chhetri, Kabita Joshi

Q. How is the Departmental side different from the Province team?

A. There is no future for the players representing Province. Representing the departmental side, players can be assured of their future. They receive a salary and are under a formal contract. There aren’t matches in all twelve months, and we need to survive in that period too hence we feel a bit secure. Moreover, there’s a better training facility and gym for the players as well. 

Q. At last, how was the series overall?

A. Honestly, it was a big challenge for us to compete with APF. They are a very good side hence I needed to build a decent team too, so it was kinda challenging for me. As I already mentioned, we assembled 15-20 days earlier and got to know each other very well. And the main thing is we won because of our team combination. Overall, we gave our full strength and were committed to our aim. We played and won as a team, everyone has an equal contribution to this victory. 

Listen the talk with Rubina Chhetry: