Sumayah from shopian is the second cricket coach of Kashmir.
SRINAGAR: Sidelining the stereotypes and gender bias, Summayah lives her dreams despite all odds, turns a role model for female folk in the valley.
Summayah Jan, a passionate female cricketer is a coach. Hailing from Kachdoora Shopian of South Kashmir, Summaya became the second women from Kashmir, who completed her one year Diploma Course (NIS) in Cricket discipline at Netaji Subhas (NS) National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala in July this year.
She is now keen to impart training to budding cricketers on professional lines. Among Asian countries, Summayah bagged 4th rank in NIS examination. Though it was not an easy trip but Summayah showed resilience, inner strength and self belief to stand tall against all odds in the men dominated game.
The 25-year old cricketer says it was a tough challenge for her to complete the course. “It was a real challenge for me to complete the NIS course. We had to study all branches of Science related to sports and initially it was quite difficult for me to grasp it as I was having arts background but I didn’t give up,” she said as quoted by Rising Kashmir.
She said they had to remain on their toes to follow the schedule set for the course. “I was thinking my life has turned into hell. We had to start our day early morning at 5:30. From dawn to dusk we remain indulged in the theoretical and practical aspects of the course,” she said.
Summayah said the students didn’t learn only about cricket but also learnt how to provide first aid to players during an injury on field. “During the course I came to know about various aspects of the game. At first I was having a limited knowledge but as the course progressed I got acquainted even with minor details of my main sport cricket. There are 43 laws in cricket and we had to get acquainted with all these laws,” she said.
For becoming a professional and successful cricket coach, Summayah said, it is important to possess enough knowledge about the game. “It is important to have great knowledge about different departments of the game whether it is wicket keeping, bowling, fielding, batting etc so that a coach can suggest players in which department he/she is best after analyzing them on various aspects, that is what we learnt,” she adds.
Sumnayah began to swing the bat from 2007 but lesser did she know that her decision would attract criticism from conservatisms. “From past 10 years, I’m playing cricket but it has been very difficult at times. The people around tried to demoralise me but I was focused on my ambition. My family actually faced the brunt as I left my home to pursue Bachelors in Physical Education to live with my aspiration of playing cricket without any gender restrictions,” she said
In 2008, Summayah was inducted in U19 State team which catapulted her journey into professional cricket. “I played only one season at U-19 level. From 2009, I represented state at senior level and continued to play for the state till 2017. Initially, my performance at senior level wasn’t up to the mark because of the lack of proper coaching, professional instructors, and infrastructure in the state. Later, I improved my game and was somehow successful,” she said.
After displaying eye-catching performance, she got the attention of Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and was selected for Zonal Cricket Academy (ZCA). “In 2011, I attended one month ZCA camp at Dharmshala and I learned a lot there. It came as a blessing for me. I came to know about my shortcomings, the techniques I need to work on, how to align body and maintain balance during batting etc,” she says.
Attending ZCA proved a turning point of her cricketing journey which motivated Summayah to pursue professional course – NIS in cricket discipline. Soon after completing B.PE from RTM Nagpur and then B.P. Ed from Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar in 2016-17, Summayah successfully cracked entrance examination for NIS.
“Valley cricketers lack in many fronts which motivated me to do NIS. When players of other states were performing better in all formats, we (JK team) used to realize that we are far behind,” she says.
She says it is important to have the know-how of basics of the game to set firm foundation of players. “I will train them from basics. I will analyze them for 4 to 5 days and will observe their shortcomings so that they will overcome that. As a coach I will provide aspiring cricketers especially girls’ professional knowledge about the game and will make efforts to produce technically sound players who can give best performance at state level. What I could not achieve as a player, I will make sure that my students achieve,” Sumaiya said.
Apart from playing cricket and studying, Summayah went a step head and from 2013 she has organized a number of district level tournaments for boys to provide platform and opportunities to the aspiring cricketers.
The tournaments comprising three editions of First Valley Cup, Rawalpora – Shopian in which 128 teams participated besides many other tournaments at Nihama, Kulgam, Chawalgam and in many other parts of south Kashmir in which she got a huge response from the local cricket teams.
Being organized by a female, probably the first one in valley, the tournaments gained much popularity and fanfare among youth in valley. “I am planning now to organize district cricket tournaments of 10 to 12 overs at school level. The aim of the tournament will be to hunt talent from districts. I’ve talked to District Commissioner Shopian in this regard. We will provide every support to the talented cricketers and harness their talent from the very right age so that their time will not get wasted,” Summayah expressed.
Like any other conservative family of valley, she says, her family was also reluctant to support her at first. “I got so much connected with the game that I could not clear my 12th Board exam at first instance,” Summayah recalls.
Becoming apprehensive regarding her future, Summayah’s family even barred her from playing cricket but she protested.
Summayah excelled both in her studies as well as in sports and now her family stands by her. “I’m really thankful to my family especially my brother and sister in-law, for lending me immense support whether moral or financial when I needed the most. From time to time my brother used to motivate me to boost my confidence and inspired me to achieve my set goals,” says Summayah.
She also feels grateful to J&K State Sports Council and former Secretary Sports Waheed-Ur-Rehman Para for their support. “Only after his assurance of sponsorship for the course, I went ahead.” She advises girls to show courage first and only then they will be in a position to show their talent.