Born on this day, 4th March 1961 in West Bangal, former Test and ODI player for India, Sharmila Chakraborty is a pioneer of women’s cricket.
A right-hand batter and left-arm slow bowler, Sharmila made her Test debut at just fifteen years of age. It was also the debut of the entire team as India played its first Test match against the West Indies at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore.
In the third Test of that series at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi, the teenager took her best figures in Test cricket, dismantling the West Indies middle order, taking 5-25 from 15 overs.
Rarely called on to bat in her eleven Test matches, Sharmila took 19 wickets at an average of 22.10 runs per wicket.
As with Test cricket, when Sharmila made her ODI debut, the entire Indian women’s team, known affectionately as the “Women in Blue” made their first appearance in the format, at no less than the second women’s World Cup, played in India in 1977/8. Still only sixteen years of age, Sharmila only played the one match. The next time she would play an ODI for India was at the next World Cup, in New Zealand in 1981/2.
Against the International XI at Napier, Smail achieved her best bowling figures in an ODI, taking 4-11, bowling India to their first victory in an ODI.
In fourteen ODIs Sharmila took 17 wickets at 15.88 with her final appearance the home series against Australia in 1983/4. A member of India’s first Test (cap 1) and ODI (cap 5) teams Sharmila Chakraborty is indeed a pioneer.