Born on June 22nd 1958 in Cannanore, Kerala, former Indian Test and ODi cricketer, Sudha Shah played 21 consecutive Test matches.
A middle order batter and occasional off break bowler, Sudha played in the very first Test India played. Her debut was against the West Indies at Bangalore in October 1976.
Prior to that however, Sudha’s initial taste of international cricket was on the 1975 tour of India by an Australian team who played three unofficial Test matches against India. Sudha played in all three matches and was captain for the second Test, as well as being vice-captain for the first Test.
In 1975/75 a tour of India by Trish McKelvey’s New Zealand team saw five “unofficial” Test matches played between India and the White Ferns. By the time Sudha made her Test debut against the West Indies she and the Indian team had played two full series and eight unofficial Test matches.
Sudha and the Indian team under the captaincy of Shantha Rangaswamy made their debut at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore in October 1976. It was the first of a six Test series – and remains the only series of that length in the history of women’s cricket.
In 1976/77 India toured New Zealand and Australia. A number of the players were vegetarians and Australia didn’t cater all that well for vegetarians in that era. Sudha and a few others survived on McDonalds French fries and milkshakes.
Sudha toured England in 1986 where she made her highest Test score of 62* against the home team at Blackpool. There should be a Test century in there but Sudha’s 601 runs is the third highest career tally without a hundred. Her 21 consecutive Tests between 1976 and 1991 is second only to Rachael Heyhoe Flint (22).
An appearance in one match at the 1977/78 World Cup in India was Sudha’s ODI debut. She played 13 in total with a high score of 53.
A cricket pioneer by any measure – the first 21 Tests India played, plus the 8 unofficial matches – Sudha Shah was there right from the beginning.Embed from Getty Images