Star Talks: Yastika Bhatia & Dinesh Karthik

As the curtains closed on the thrilling finale of the Women’s Premier League, with Royal Challengers Bangalore emerging victorious, cricket fans barely had a moment to catch their breath before the grand spectacle of the Indian Premier League took center stage, electrifying the cricketing world with its unmatched fervor.

Amidst this thrilling crossroads of two pivotal championships—the recently concluded WPL and the ongoing IPL—Dinesh Karthik, ambassador of Parimatch Sports, caught up with the emerging cricket star, Yastika Bhatia.

Together, they delved into Yastika’s journey to cricket, her views on the Women’s Premier League, insights beyond the cricket pitch, her dreams, and inspiration.

Dreams & Destiny

Dinesh Karthik: I vividly recall the moment I first picked up a bat at the tender age of 6, back in kindergarten. It was exhilarating, almost like love at first sight.

Yastika, how did your love for cricket begin, and when did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?

Yastika Bhatia: From a young age, sports brought me joy – from mastering swimming at three to later enjoying badminton and karate. My love for athletics grew through active participation in school. The pivotal moment came when I discovered cricket on TV during my formative years. Encouraged by my father, I started practicing at the YSC club with my elder sister, guided by the renowned Pinalbhai from BCA.

After dedicated training at YSC, I received an invitation to BCA’s selection trials. This marked the start of a journey shaping my destiny.

Dinesh Karthik: Can you share a memorable moment from your early cricketing days that had a significant impact on your career?

Yastika Bhatia: A key moment in my early cricket journey unfolded when I scored over 50 runs against under-14 boys. This achievement led to my selection to represent Baroda in a Senior T20 tournament in Delhi at just 12 years old. This opportunity became a turning point, offering invaluable experience and exposure at such a tender age.

During the tournament, I seized the chance to showcase my talent, participating in two matches and leaving a lasting impression on the team management with my performance. This experience proved pivotal, propelling my career forward as I continued to thrive in the sport, never looking back since.

Dinesh Karthik: When I was a kid, legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid became my cricketing idols. Their dedication, technique, and composure on the field greatly influenced my approach to the game.

Yastika, who were your cricketing idols while growing up, and how did they influence your playing style?

Yastika Bhatia: During my formative years, cricketing legends like Adam Gilchrist and Smriti Mandhana were my inspirations. Gilchrist’s aggressive yet elegant left-handed batting and impeccable wicketkeeping made a significant impression on me. Equally, I admired Smriti Mandhana’s graceful technique, especially her cover drives and pull shots, finding them truly inspiring.

Competing against Smriti in tournaments heightened my appreciation for her finesse and style, leaving a lasting impact on my own approach to the game.

Yastika: The Cricketer

Dinesh Karthik: Having experienced the journey-to-success myself, I understand the importance of certain qualities in a cricketer. What specific qualities do you believe set you apart as a cricketer, and how have they contributed to your success?

Yastika Bhatia: My success in cricket stems from my unyielding passion for the game, a disciplined approach to physical training, regular meditation practice, and a steadfast commitment to attending every cricket session. These qualities have set me apart and played a significant role in my achievements in cricket.

Dinesh Karthik: Reflecting on my own training routines and game focus, I’ve come to realize the significance of consistency. Can you describe your training routine and any specific aspects of your game that you consistently focus on refining?

Yastika Bhatia: I adhere to a demanding training routine, engaging in cricket sessions every evening and incorporating morning physical training, alternating between gym workouts and running sessions. Alongside, I prioritize a balanced diet, guided by a nutritionist, ensuring I stay in optimal shape for peak performance on the field.

Dinesh Karthik: Adapting to different formats can be challenging but crucial in cricket. How do you approach switching between formats, and what challenges do you find most demanding?

Yastika Bhatia: I adapt my gameplay for different cricket formats based on their specific demands. In test matches, patience and endurance are key, while one-day matches offer flexibility with dot balls. T20 cricket presents unique challenges, requiring urgent decision-making and a focus on power-hitting over technical finesse. I adjust my approach accordingly to meet the requirements of each format I play.

Dinesh Karthik: How did it feel to receive your maiden call-up to the India women’s cricket team? Can you share the emotions you experienced during that moment?

Yastika Bhatia: It was an overwhelming moment. It happened during a practice match in Rajkot against the Sr. Saurashtra team when, during lunch, I discovered my inclusion in the Indian team WhatsApp group. Excited and incredulous, I immediately shared the news with my father, who was present at the match, and later with my mother. The emotions of joy and disbelief were palpable as I processed this life-changing news. Later that evening, I received an official call from BCCI confirming my selection for the home series against South Africa.

Women in Cricket

Dinesh Karthik: Reflecting on the rise of various cricket leagues, such as the IPL, how do you believe the Women’s Player League (WPL) will impact the overall development of women’s cricket in India?

Yastika Bhatia: I strongly believe that the Women’s Player League (WPL) is a game-changer for the development of women’s cricket in India. Its successful debut season, with packed stadiums, enthusiastic spectators, and celebrity attendance, has brought newfound attention and hope to the sport. The WPL’s auction system offers a fresh opportunity for domestic players to pursue cricket as a professional career, resulting in increased interest and support from both parents and fans. Overall, I see the WPL as a catalyst for positive change in the perception and growth of women’s cricket in India.

Dinesh Karthik: How do you think the representation of women in cricket has evolved over the years, and what role do you see yourself playing in this progression?

Yastika Bhatia: I’ve witnessed a remarkable shift from the game’s limited reach to a few cities to its widespread presence across the entire country. Initiatives from the BCCI and other sports agencies have played a crucial role in spreading cricket, providing better facilities even in remote areas. This has resulted in increased participation and impact by women cricketers in both domestic and international circuits.

I consider myself a part of this positive progression, observing more girls joining cricket and excelling in the sport, thanks to growing encouragement from parents. Personally, I find joy in visiting my club in Baroda, connecting with young aspiring cricketers, and contributing to their development.

Dinesh Karthik: Looking back on my own cricketing journey, I’d advise young talents to focus on honing their skills, maintaining discipline, and embracing every opportunity to learn and grow in the sport. Yastika, what advice do you have for aspiring female cricketers looking to make a mark in the sport?

Yastika Bhatia: My advice is straightforward yet powerful: prioritize passion, dedication, and hard work in your pursuit of making a mark in the sport.

Yastika Unfiltered

Dinesh Karthik: Outside of cricket, what are your interests or hobbies that help you relax and unwind? As for me, I’m fond of hiking and spending time immersed in nature. It’s my way of finding peace and rejuvenation away from the intensity of the game. What do you enjoy, Yastika?

Yastika Bhatia: I enjoy watching movies, reading, playing guitar, singing, and spending time with friends.

Dinesh Karthik: If you could play cricket with any historical or contemporary player, who would it be, and why? For me, it would be Sachin Tendulkar. His mastery and knowledge would be incredible to experience. How about you?

Yastika Bhatia: I’d like to bat with Virat Kohli, sir. I’m drawn to his exceptional skills and leadership in the field. It would be an incredible experience to share the crease with him.

Dinesh Karthik: Looking ahead, what are your personal goals and aspirations in cricket for the coming years?

Yastika Bhatia: My personal goal for the coming years is to become a match-winner in both keeping and batting, aiming to make significant contributions to my team’s success in various aspects of the game.

Wrapping Up

The 17th edition of the Indian Premier League, which commenced on March 22nd, is now in full swing, captivating audiences far and wide with its action-packed matches spanning across different cities of India.

Parimatch Sports eagerly awaits the crowning of the IPL Champion and extends its heartfelt wishes to all the teams, players, and fans of this year’s T20 season!


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