A tribal girl, working as a daily wage earner in Odisha’s mineral rich Joda in Keonjhar district, also doubles up as a wicketkeeper and batswoman for Jharkhand’s Under-23 women’s cricket team.
Meet Pinky Tirkey, who, defying all odds, has made a place for herself in the world of women’s cricket.
After her father death two years ago, Pinky Tirkey, from Balani colony in Joda, took up the role of the breadwinner of the family. Twenty-year-old Pinky slogs hard to earn around Rs 2000, not enough for a family of eight members.
Pinky works at railway siding lifting iron ores and loading them onto railway carriages. She has to put 8-9 hours at work but she still manages to find a way to pursue her passion for cricket.
Pinky started playing cricket in 2012 after Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) Odisha started its Ladies Cricket Coaching Centre at its Bolani Mines to encourage tribal girls to take part in sports. She started training under coach Amarendra Mohanty.
In 2015, Pinky Tirkey got a chance to play in Under-19 Women’s Cricket team in Jharkhand. With consistent good performance with the bat, she was picked for the Under-23 team in 2017. So far, she has played around 25 matches including inter-district and state level tournaments.
Her coach Amarendra Mohanty said that her cricketing gears have been provided by the Ladies cricket club, but what she need is a lot a nutritious food and long hours of practice. “Most of the days she would come straight away from the railway siding wearing grimy clothes and start practising. She needs to focus on the game more and not lifting iron ore,” he said.
“She can easily make it to the Indian Women’s Cricket team if the government or some private company supports her. Despite her poverty, her desire to play cricket is very strong,” Mohanty added.