Rousing welcome to WC star Mona Meshram

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Jul 2017 10:34:26

Sports Reporter,

Can’t forget this experience for life, says Mona

NAGPUR’S Women’s World Cup (WC) star, Mona Meshram, arrived in the city on Friday night to a rousing welcome from her friends, family and fans. The all-rounder landed from New Delhi where the Indian women’s team was felicitated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The pain of losing the final to England by a narrow margin was very much visible on Mona’s face but she sought to look to the future instead of crying on the past.

The Babasaheb Ambedkar airport’s arrival gate was full of Mona’s family, Vidarbha women’s team members, and friends who had come with banners, balloons and sweets. A few local politicians also joined the welcome party garlanding the young cricketer.

Interacting with waiting reporters at the airport Mona rued the missed opportunity but said the World Cup was an experience to cherish for life. “It was a huge experience for me. It will definitely help me a lot in the future. The tips I got from Mithali didi (Raj) and Jhulan didi (Goswami) will help me in my career,” Mona said. Mona was confident of the Indian team’s stupendous run in the World Cup. However, she admitted, they were not expecting to make the final.

“We were not expecting to reach final. Our first aim was to reach the semi-final. But when we won the semis against Australia Mithali didi was all pumped up. She boosted the morale of the team, prodding us to win the title,” she said.
The close loss in the final did leave a bad taste in the mouth. Mona attributed it to inexperience which led to panic in the final moments.

“We were under pressure of playing a big final. Our inexperience showed as we panicked in the end overs during the chase. This was the big reason for the heartbreaking loss,” Mona said.On her own performance, Mona said it was not up to the mark. “As far as my individual performance is considered it was not satisfying. I got a chance but could not perform up to the mark,” she said. Mona appeared in three matches and got a chance to bat in two innings. She scored 24 with 18 not out as highest. The city girl was later used as substitute fielder in other games including the final.

Interestingly, Mona was one of the stars in the WC qualifiers played early this year in Sri Lanka. Mona felt the World Cup run has changed the outlook towards women’s cricket. It has got them rewards and also a lot of respect. One such experience was her meeting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Capital. The Indian team had called on Modi on Thursday. Modi met each player and also tweeted individual pictures with them, congratulating and praising their skills.

“It was a thrilling experience. Modi Sir is a kind person. He interacted with us frankly, asked about us and praised our performance. The PM asked us to work harder to bring the World Cup home next time,” said the beaming cricketer.

Mona’s arrival was also a poignant moment for her mother Chhaya Meshram. She was excited all day to receive her celebrity daughter. She runs a food mess but on Friday, as soon as she came to know about Mona’s arrival plans, there was an undeclared holiday. Chhaya was preparing whole day for Mona’s welcome.

“I cannot believe that my daughter has represented the Indian team. It is unbelievable for me even now,” Chhaya said, struggling to keep her emotions in check. Soon it was time to let the tears flow the moment Mona came out of the arrival lounge. The tight hug said it all about Mona -- the pride of Nagpur.


Maharashtra Govt to give Rs 50 lakh

Meanwhile, the windfall continues for Mona after the women’s team’s exploits. BCCI has announced Rs 50 lakh to each member of the team. The Indian Railways has already talked of out-of-turn promotions as well as a cash reward for Rs 1.30 crore for 10 members of the team.

On Friday, the Maharashtra Government announced a cash reward of Rs 50 lakh for each player of the women’s team for their stellar performance.Along with Mona, openers Poonam Raut and Smriti Mandhana, will be getting the cash reward. All the three players from Maharashtra were invited to the legislative assembly on Friday by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar.  Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tabled a proposal to congratulate the players which was accepted by both the Houses.