The Stirring Impact: Wayanad’s Affection Propels Mani’s Cricket Aspirations
The deep emotional connection for Mani lies in the outpouring of love and support from the Wayanad community ever since she emerged as a prominent figure in Indian cricket. What truly tugs at her heartstrings is the fact that parents in the region are now actively encouraging their daughters to embrace cricket and walk the path forged by Mani herself.
“I encountered resistance not only from society but also from my parents when I initially expressed my interest in cricket. Up until the eighth grade, I played local matches in secrecy, away from my parents’ knowledge. My responsibilities were primarily focused on academics and assisting my parents in the paddy fields,” she disclosed.
“The local residents are brimming with enthusiasm as they realize that an individual from Wayanad is now making her mark on the Indian cricket scene. Their aspirations have shifted, and they are enthusiastic about their daughters venturing into the sport, inspired by my journey. I have even taken steps to approach local authorities, seeking a small plot of land where my sisters and I can establish a cricket nursery. This initiative would ensure that aspiring cricketers don’t have to travel great distances for training,” Mani shared. Her exceptional performance, securing five wickets in the three-match T20 series against Bangladesh, positioned her as the standout among all Indian bowlers.
The Mananthavady Municipality in Wayanad district, situated in the northern region of Kerala, has paid a tribute to the cricketer by renaming a road junction in her honor. The junction previously known as the Mysuru road junction will now bear the name ‘Minnu Mani Junction.’ This new designation is located a mere 3 km away from her residence, though there is currently no direct road connecting the junction to her home.
“I feel deeply touched by this gesture of respect extended towards me. I have seen roads named after film stars and political personalities, and now to experience this personally is truly special. The local authorities are in the process of constructing a connecting road,” Mani shared. She expressed her appreciation for the recognition, reflecting on how cricket has remarkably transformed her life. Originating from a background of labor and part-time farming, Mani wisely utilized the earnings she received from Delhi Capitals after participating in the WPL. These funds enabled her to build her own house, acquire furniture, and even purchase a Scooty for convenient commuting to the academy.
The BCCI has brought about a transformative change for women’s cricket in India. I come from a humble background, but now I have the opportunity to provide my parents with a better life, alleviating their struggles. My father used to work as a laborer and in the paddy fields to make ends meet. I’m relieved that he no longer has to endure that hardship. Now, having represented India, I can even explore job opportunities with the Indian Railways,” Mani shared. She now employs her Scooty for the commute to the Kerala Cricket Association Stadium, which is over 50 km away from her home.
Additionally, she’s an integral part of the Indian team set to compete in the forthcoming Asian Games. A skilled top-order left-handed batter and a remarkable off-spinner, Mani aims to shine at the Asian Games and sustain her impressive performance, with her eyes set on earning a spot in the ODI Indian team.”