Punam Raut’s coach Sanjay Gaitonde narrates how she was comfortable facing fast bowling from boys of her age since she was 10 and used to train with Rohit Sharma. He also stated how the Indian Women’s opener always had the knack for batting with a naturally athletic physique.
While India woke up to a certain Punam Raut on the World Cup final as she sent the English bowlers to the boundaries, her Mumbai-based coach says he always knew she had the potential to make it to the top. Sanjay Gaitonde narrates the old days when she used to train with India’s star batsman Rohit Sharma and saw off fast bowlers easily.
“I would play her with boys like Rohit. Rohit was 12 while she was 10. They lived in the same area in Borivali. She was always very talented with the bat and bowled good off-spin. Not just that, I would let her bat against the boys of her age who had played for Mumbai and she easily played against that kind of pace,” revealed Gaitonde while speaking to DNA.
Raut has become a household name following her World Cup feat for the India Women’s team with various interesting stories emerging now. One such has been revealed recently by her erstwhile coach Sanjay Gaitonde, who narrated the incident of how a 12-year-old Raut impressed for the U-14 Summer Camp Trials for boys in Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
The right-handed batsman, who anchored India’s run chase in the World Cup final taking them dangerously close to the win, always had the knack for batting and her coach had
Gaitonde said, “I wanted to test her skills and hence, I asked her to go. She went there and stood in line with the other batsmen who were ready to bat. When her turn came, she impressed the selector Anil Muzumdar (father of domestic legend Amol Muzumdar) with her batting.”
“Muzumdar called her and asked her name in order to write it down in the selection list. When she said Punam Raut, Anil was shocked. He asked her what she was doing there as this trial was just for boys. Anil then asked me about it, and I told him I just wanted to test her skills. She proved herself,” added her coach.
Daughter of a driver, Raut made her debut for the Indian team back in 2009 as a 19-year-old. She has played over 50 games for the country since then, amassing over 1500 runs. The right-handed opener is widely regarded as the future of India’s cricket after her phenomenal form in the biggest tournament.
The Mumbai-based coach was all praise for her fitness and cricketing sense. “She had a natural physique of an athlete and had a good ball sense. Hence, I agreed to teach her and she became my first girl student.”