Lopamudra Bhattacharjee

Born 31st January 1960 in Calcutta (Kolkata), former Test and ODI cricketer for India, Lopamudra Bhattacharjee  (now Banerjee) was a pace bowler.

Lopa began her career for East Zone in the Rani Jhansi Trophy in 1974/5 where the fast bowler quickly gained a reputation for her pace, taking wickets in a land not known to be friendly for fast bowlers.

A taste of international cricket in 1975/6 when East Zone met Trish McKelvey’s New Zealand team in a tour game. Lopa removed the opener, Denise Jelley.

In 1977/8 World Cup cricket came to India and it was the first time the nation played in such a tournament, having missed the inaugural one in 1977/8. It was India’s debut and it was Lopa’s debut, presented with ODI cap 4 for the nation. Against eventual winners Australia, she took 2-23 including the captain Marg Jennings and star batter Wendy Hills.

All of Lopa’s ODI matches were at World Cups, where she also played in the 1981/2 edition in New Zealand. Against the hosts she took 2-12 from 10 overs! Against the International XI she removed batters one, two and three to record her best figures of 3-18.

“Lopa was our fastest bowler. A gem of a person. Simple, unassuming and a very sweet human being.” – team member Rajeshwari Dholakia

Across 15 ODI’s Lopa took 8 wickets at 26.75 and an economy rate of just 2.67 runs per over.

In March 1985 Lopa played her one and only Test match, cap number 27 for India. She bowled four over in the first innings. That was it. In a team that boasted a spin attack that included Diana Edulji and Shubangi Kulkarni, not much room for a fast bowler.