Rajeshwari Dholakia

Born 26th December 1959, former India Test and ODI allrounder, Rajeshwari “Raju” Dholakia. She was the only left hander in the Indian team during the entirety of her career from 1976/7 to 1981/2.

Raju made her international debut for India when she played in the second and third matches of three official Tests against Australia in 1975 at the age of fifteen. Between the two Tests she top scored for Central Zone against the Australians.

Her Test debut came against the West Indies in the fifth and sixth Tests of 1976/7 at age sixteen, before one-off Tests against Australia and New Zealand just after her seventeenth birthday. And that was the end of her Test career! Four Tests in all with a high score of 24 not out against the West Indies.

In the Test against Australia, Raju survived on McDonalds fries and shakes and in New Zealand, cookies. As a vegetarian there were not many options available in those two countries in the 1970s! They were billeted in those days.

Raju played her debut ODI at the World Cup played in India 1977/8 and again played World Cup cricket in 1981/2 in New Zealand. It was in that latter series that India scored their first victory over England in a World Cup and it largely due to a partnership of 88 between Fowzieh Khalili (88) and Raju (35). Raju came in to bat at 5/77. Enid Bakewell was running rampant with the ball, but “Fowzie” and Raju stemmed the flow of wickets and from there a flow of runs and victory for India. These days Raju is busy coaching cricket in the USA keeping her hand in the game.