Birthday special: Diana Edulji – India’s record-breaking women’s cricketer

Diana Edulji is easily one of the biggest names in women’s cricket in India and it won’t be wrong to say that she is a cricket prodigy in true sense. Apart from leading the National Women’s team in their first One Day International, Edulji played a remarkable role in uplifting women’s cricket in the country.

Born in Mumbai to a Parsi family, Edulji had different aspirations as she was attracted to the game of cricket at an early age and started playing the sport with a tennis ball. However, she later took interest in Basketball and Tennis Table and went on to represent India in both the sports at the junior level.

Meanwhile, Diana Edulji gave a thought about playing cricket as a professional when Mrs Aloo Bamjee started a club in the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in 1971 and the rest is history. The left-arm slow-orthodox bowler Diana first played for the Railways and then finally made her debut for India in a Test game against West Indies on October 31, 1976.

Career highlights

In her long international career of 18 years, Diana represented India in 20 Test matches along with 34 One Day Internationals scalping 63 and 46 wickets respectively at an average of 25.77 and 16.84. Till date, she is the third-highest wicket-taker in the purest format of the game and holds the record for delivering the most number of balls by any woman cricketer in Women’s test history (5098+).

As far as leadership is concerned, Edulji was appointed as the captain of the Indian side in 1978 and is renowned as the country’s first captain in ODIs in Women’s cricket and led the team in two World Cups (1978 and 1993). Diana captained India in 4 Test matches, 2 against New Zealand and 2 against West Indies, however, all the four games resulted in a draw.

She also had a win percentage of 38.88 in ODIs while leading India in limited-overs format from 1978 to 1993, having won 7 games and lost 11 out of 18 played. For her amazing career, the spinner was honoured with India’s then greatest sports honour award, the Arjuna Award in 1983 followed by the civilian honour of Padma Shri in 2002.

Meanwhile, the biggest achievement of Diana Edulji came during 2017 when Supreme Court had appointed her as one the four panellists among historian (Ram Guha), a former government auditor (Vinod Rai), a banker (Vinod Limaye) to run the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).