From a school teacher to leading the United Arab Emirates (UAE) national women’s cricket team, Chaya Mughal has come a long way to make Jammu and Kashmir proud on the international scene.
“When I arrived in Dubai in 2009, I began working as a teacher. I had no idea there was a UAE women’s cricket squad back then. Fortunately, in 2016, one of my friends introduced me to the then-coach, and I was able to participate in an eight-aside one-day competition. The coaches spotted my talent, and I was given the opportunity to train with UAE females before making my debut in 2017,” Chaya told `Female Cricket’.
“Playing cricket in the UAE has always been exciting for me. When I think back on that moment, I still get goosebumps. I was nervous and excited at the same time. Nervous because it was UAE women’s first international cricket match and excited because I was a part of it”.
A fan of Jonty Rhodes, she recently led the side to crack ICC Women’s World T20 Asia Qualifier.
“Our mantra was `one Team – one Dream’ and we all fought really hard to attain it. Everyone was present for all the practice sessions, and we all practiced from two to three days per week, then four to five days per week. We were all pumped up because we all wanted to qualify, and we did. Playing outside in hot and humid weather was challenging, but we all enjoyed it. I’m not sure if we expected this to happen, but the entire squad was certain that it would, and it was all the outcome of our hard work that enabled us to qualify undefeated for the Global qualifiers,” she said.
Such is her passion that she led her team to play against the men’s team. “Playing practice matches (with men’s team) gave us the confidence that we needed. It also provided an opportunity to try an unorthodox strategy or two. The games were meant to acclimatize the players. Playing practice matches with the boys allowed us to build some form of momentum within the group, enabling us to place a little more emphasis on the outcome of the game before the main tournament,” she said.
Cricket is, of course, my passion, and I cannot stop myself from participating. It’s a blessing to be a cricketer since I adore this game. The excitement of playing cricket is an everlasting source of motivation for me. Cricket has taught me many lessons, but one that sticks with me is, “A hero is someone who believes in himself despite the fact that others do not.” This is something I try to live by in all aspects of my life.For Chaya, teaching is still her first love. “Yes, I am still a teacher, and I believe that teaching is the most exciting profession since we are creating future leaders.
As a sports player, I include play and learn methods of teaching, which allows the children to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new. In short, if you enjoy doing something, you can always make time for it. Regardless of how busy I am with my teaching, I always manage to train and play matches. I believe that is the secret to maintaining the balance between teaching and playing cricket,” she said.