Chaitrali Kalgutkar

We recently caught up with Chaitrali Kalgutkar, currently the coach of the UAE Women’s team. She has represented the UAE team herself and was one of the earliest members to join. Read on to find out more…

My name is Chaitrali and I was born and brought up in India, Mumbai. I have been in the UAE for the past 14 years and I work in the Aviation industry.

What got you interested in cricket to the extent that you decided to play for UAE? 


Cricket has always been my passion since childhood. My father used to really encourage me to play this sport and that's how I developed a love for the game. I've played a lot of cricket in India and continued to play in the UAE when I came and started working here. 

What was the one thing that you enjoyed the most about the game?
 

The best part of this game is that this game is full of competition because, it's a game where you have a complete unit, it's a team game and, where you have a team game, you have a lot of qualities, different skills, different talents. And that makes this game a little unique, you know, because the competition is always ongoing.

 

How is the game different as a manager from when you were playing? 
 

As a player, you always have the liberty to express yourself the way you want to, switching the role from a player to a manager or to a mentor or a coach is always a challenge, because you need to be more disciplined, you need to be more responsible, you need to be a little more mature. And the challenge was, always accepted because, it just seemed to come naturally. And, it's great because, when you know the game in and out and, when you know the players whom you have been associated for past so many years, it's easy to deal with them. It's easy to get a good rapport built with them. So, I enjoyed as a player and now I'm enjoying as a manager and it's really fun. It's great to be with the bunch of girls that I'm associated with. 


What do you do apart from coaching the team? And how do you manage between the two?


I am working with Emirates group, in the aviation industry as an airport operations officer. 
So, as you rightly said, it's all about having that balance, that whole balance and, its great that, I'm working with the company, which supports this sport and they always encourage me to, go and, express myself in terms of playing, in terms of working. So, I have that liberty wherein I can give time to cricket as well as, to work.

 

Do you see any challenges, for the UAE team? 
 

If you talk about challenges, yes, we have challenges, because, it's a place where a lot of expatriates recite, and, what happens is the players have subsidized their passion considering you know, that they work or study.
So, there have always been challenges wherein, to get the team together at a particular time or day, because of which these challenges, but then, we have always tried to manage, we’ve tried to overcome and some or the other way, we try to get players to indulge in some or the other way.

 

As the manager of the team, what are some of your short-term and long-term goals?
 

Honestly speaking, if you ask me, I believe in short-term goals, you know, because I'm more realistic, take less of stress and quite easy to achieve. And for me, the current, short term goal is to nurture the young talent, give them a platform wherein they can express their talents because at a very young age of 12 and 13, you generally feel shy to showcase your talent. So that's what we want. We want to encourage the young players and nurture some good talents.

 

What is the domestic structure and the national set-up currently? 
 

Domestic structure, if you consider we play quite a few of domestic games or practice sessions. Recently we conducted a fantastic D10 tournament. It was completely live and had an amazing media coverage. And that's something we always need to keep doing, you know, because that's how the players are going to get encouraged. That’s how they are going to get to a next level.
 

And these short formats of the games really help players to keep themselves motivated all the time and playing with boys because obviously boys are superior. So, when you can face that challenge, the playing becomes even more easy.
 

You spoke about the media coverage and how it was exciting for the young talent.  Can you share with us a bit about how the mood was in the dressing room? 
 

Well, it was very exciting, I will say because the players were always on their toes, to deliver because they never knew that something of this sort would even happen, especially when we have a lot of young players at the age of 12 and 13. So, almost immediately the shyness just disappeared and I was very surprised to see them in that kind of mood, wherein everybody gave their hundred percent and if you saw the game, you will know that this was the first detained game, which went into a super over.
 

That was something where all the players, gave their 200%, I'll say. And they really, made this exhibition game, live and the sponsors were so happy that they will definitely take this onboard. 

 

Are there any upcoming tournaments for the team? 
 

Considering that COVID is still impacting regional and international events, we really have no concrete, international tournaments that have been on the calendar as of now, but yes, we want to stay prepared. We want to keep ourselves going all the time because we don't know what may come when and as we plan that, staying in practice would give us a better move forward. So yes, all we have to do is keep practicing and whenever there is any event coming up, we need to be prepared for that.

 

Any future development plans for the team? 
 

Yeah, the future looks very exciting. I say this because we've got a fantastic bunch of players. I still remember earlier days, almost 10 to 11 years back where we actually had to struggle to get 11 players considering, that, this is an expatriate country and it's very tough to get players.bSo, we had that challenge but not now, if you see, we have almost 150-200 players in our list and in our database, and that's how cricket has grown over the past so many years and Emirates Cricket has been really instrumental in shaping women's cricket. So yes, of course, we are looking forward for a lot more cricket to happen in this region and as I said the future looks really bright, looks very exciting and promising, especially for the young generation. 
 

In your opinion, has there been any influential player or team that has shaped the development of this cricket team?
 

Well, I will say that in terms of players or teams coming over in the UAE, getting this exposure and the facilities over here, we had teams like Pakistan and West Indies women's team. We had, the IPL, which was hosted in the UAE for women. And plus we had big bash teams coming over, wherein few of our girls had to go and play in those teams. So, this is something that is really motivating, where players witness these games, players go meet other players in the net practice areas. So, this is something that has over the period, helped our girls, to understand the level of cricket that is expected from them. So, yes, this is one of the ways to motivate players.