Anjum Chopra is perhaps the earliest definition of ‘lazy elegance’. She was India’s primary batter for a long time after her debut in 1995. Chopra was known for playing in the ‘V’ region and was a slow starter. However, it was a delight to watch the left-hander batter, every time she used to dance down the track against spinners.
Chopra was more about timing the ball rather than smashing it off the ground using her muscles. She was equally comfortable on the off-side as well the on-side and did not mind batting anywhere.
She made her One Day International (ODI) debut against New Zealand in Christchurch in February 1995. She walked to bat at number ten and was unbeaten at 1 run. She bowled just four overs and went wicketless in the match. However, India won the match by two wickets and ten balls to spare.
Chopra made her Test debut in November 1995 against England in Kolkata, nine months after her ODI debut. Chopra batted at number three and scored 27 runs in India’s 1st innings and the match ended in a draw.
In 2002, seven years after her debut, Chopra was handed captaincy of Team India and under her guidance, the women in blue attained plenty of accolades.
Chopra amassed 548 runs in 12 Test matches with the help of four half-centuries and at an average of 30.44. She scored 2,856 runs in 127 ODI games at an average of 31.38. Chopra also had a century and 18 fifties under her name.
Chopra, who is often seen donning the commentator’s hat these days, was the biggest name in women’s cricket during her era.
And as she celebrated her 44th birthday; here are some interesting facts about Anjum Chopra:
- She was the first women cricketer from India to score a century in one-dayers.
- She was also the first women player from India to reach 100 caps in ODIs.
- Only India’s current ODI skipper Mithali Raj (7098 runs) has scored more runs than Chopra in one-dayers.
- She played in six World Cups for India (4 ODI WC and 2 T20I WC).
- Chopra guided India to a series whitewash over England in her first outing as a captain.
- She guided Indian women to their first overseas Test win.
- She was also honoured with Arjuna Award in 2007.
- Chopra was awarded India’s fourth-highest civilian honour Padma Shri in 2014.