Born on 11th February 1956 in Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra former Test and ODI cricketer, Shobha Pandit is a true pioneer of the game.
Shobha’s international debut came against the Australia Under 25’s team that toured India in 1974/5 (and the subject of Betty Butcher’s “Ice-cream with Chilli Powder”). She played in two of the “Tests” with a top score of 42 at Eden Gardens.In 1975/6 Trish McKelvey’s New Zealand team toured for five unofficial Test matches and Shobha opened the batting for India in all five, with wicket keeper Fowzieh Khalili.
My selection as an opener changed my game totally. This meant that I needed to play the ball straight in front of the wicket — not pull or square cut — in the initial overs. I learned to play straight, and did not go for balls that were going out. – from Shobha’s autobiography
Shobha’s Test debut was actually India’s Test debut, when the nation played their first official Test series against the West Indies in 1976/7. She was Test cap number nine.Along with Sandhya Mazumdar, Shobia was the first opening batter for India in Tests. And what a start: she scored 69 runs in India’s first innings at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. It was the second highest score for the match after India’s captain Shantha Rangaswamy’s 74.
In that same season Shobha would tour both New Zealand and Australia for Tests against both nations. Against the Australian pace attack in Perth Shobha was one of the few Indian batters to stand tall.In 1977/8 India hosted the World Cup and played ODI cricket for the first time (having missed the inaugural World Cup in 1973).
Once again India’s debut was Shobha’s debut and matching her Test cap number, has ODI cap number nine. She played just three matches overall, with a top score of 21 against New Zealand.