Some Lesser Known Facts About Hurley Gala
- Hurley Gala is an Indian cricketer who was a part of India’s squad for the ICC Women’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup which won the tournament in January 2023 in South Africa.
- She belongs to a Gujarati family from Mumbai and lives in a joint family with her parents, sister, grandparents, and her uncle and his family.
- Since childhood, she had a penchant for outdoor activities. She was always athletic and was into running among various other sports while growing up.
- In the beginning, she competed in skating competitions at school, state, and national levels. When she was about 11, Hurley twisted her ankle while skating following which she had to take a year-long break from the sport. During this break, her father, Tanmay, encouraged that she tried her hand at cricket. While talking about her switch from skating to cricket in an interview, she said,
Skating was the first sport that I took up. We had to choose one sport in my school, Utpal Shanghvi Global School. At that time, I picked up skating. I started skating in my third standard. I was doing good and played the sport at the state level. However, I twisted my ankle during practice and was advised to rest for a year. Since I could not skate, I decided to try my hand at another sport. It was cricket. “
- During those days, the news daily Gujarati Mid-day was conducting a recreational cricket competition for housing societies. She participated in the competition as her society also fielded a team. Playing with tennis balls, she did well in those matches. That’s when the thought of his daughter seriously pursuing cricket came to Tanmay’s mind.
- Thereafter, Tanmay approached his relative and friend Vishal Karya for advice as he had some cricketing credentials. Soon, Hurley started playing in the ground owned by Karya. One day Karya was visiting a sports store to buy some cricket equipment when he met junior cricket coach Ivan Rodrigues and told him about Hurley; Ivan Rodrigues is the father of Indian cricketer Jemimah Rodrigues, an allrounder on the Mumbai women’s cricket team. The two started talking and Ivan revealed that he was looking for a place for Jemimah to practice during the off-season. Karya allowed Rodrigues to use the facilities of his private ground, where Hurley started training under Ivan Rodrigues at the Negev Cricket Academy in Juhu. In an interview, she talked about the same and said,
I started playing tennis ball tournaments that were organised in my building. I was doing well. My father saw my potential in playing cricket and soon enrolled me in a cricket academy. Ivan Rodrigues, the father of Indian player Jemimah Rodrigues, was my coach, and I practiced at his academy, Negev Cricket Academy. I was 12 years old when I first played with a leather ball.”
- Like most budding cricketers, Hurley too was interested in batting at first. But her coach believed that she had the inner core strength, agility, and ability to be a fast bowler. Hurley had a rapid rise from there. Apart from the Negev Cricket Academy, she went to MIG Cricket Club in Bandra, where she brushed her skills under the watchful eyes of Prashant Shetty. Additionally, she had fitness and fielding coaches in Venancio D’Souza and Sachin Jagtap.
- Till Class 7, she attended Utpal Shanghvi School, but after that, she enrolled into St Columba School in Mumbai for a better cricketing prospect as her previous school did not have a women’s cricket team. In an interview, she said,
There was no girls’ cricket in Utpal Shanghvi Global School, where I studied till the seventh standard. The sports teachers in the school knew that I played cricket. They asked me to form a girls’ team. However, the girls were not much interested in cricket. I decided to change my school for a better cricketing prospect. I moved to St. Columba at Grant Road.”
- Her performance in the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) tournament also caught the eye of Mumbai cricket selectors. During the semi-final of the MSSA tournament, she took a hat-trick with the ball and then went on to score a crucial 30-plus score in quick time in the final. It was Hurley’s performance in the Late Madhvi Women’s Trophy that catapulted her into the Mumbai squad.
- She made her List A debut on 3 November 2021 with the Women’s Senior One Day Trophy in which she represented Mumbai in a match against Odisha; Odisha Women won the match by 69 runs. During the series, she caught attention when she dismissed the players Deepti Sharma in her first game and Shafali Verma in her second game.
- In 2022, she was a part of the India Women’s Under-19s team that won all the matches during the New Zealand Women Under-19s tour of India.
- She was a part of the team India A in the Quadrangular Women’s U19 T20 Series 2022; India A won by 77 runs.
- She came into the limelight when she was named to India’s squad for ICC Women’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup. The squad consisted of Shafali Verma (captain), Shweta Sehrawat (vice-captain), Richa Ghosh (wicket-keeper), G Trisha, Soumya Tiwari, Sonia Mendhiya, Hrishita Basu (wicket-keeper), Sonam Yadav, Mannat Kashyap, Archana Devi, Parshavi Chopra, Titas Sadhu, Falak Naz, Shabnam MD. The tournament took place in January 2023 in South Africa with matches being played in the T20 format. On 17 January 2023, Hurley Gala was ruled out of the world cup due to a laceration on her right thumb. She was replaced by Yashasri Soppadhandhi. On 29 January 2023, India won the tournament by 7 wickets.
- In an interview, she revealed that she draws inspiration from Jemimah Rodrigues. While talking about Rodrigues she said,
I never had a role model. However, having played under the captainship of Jemimah Rodrigues for Mumbai, I look up to her for inspiration. I like the way she handles herself in a pressure situation. Also, I admire the way she leads the team by example. She makes every player in the team comfortable, puts her hand around them, and gives them confidence.”
- In February 2023, she was sold to Gujarat Giants for Rs 10 lakh in the inaugural WPL auction.