Sita Rana Magar: Upset, Nepal women’s cricket top performer lets the bat speak for her

Sita Rana Magar
Sita Rana Magar has captained APF Women to five domestic titles. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

After taking a wicket in the second match of the T20 series against Uganda at TU Cricket Ground in May 2022, Sita Rana Magar celebrated symbolically. She brought out the Pushpa celebration that was making the rounds in the cricketing world thanks to the film.

She was not following a trend. The celebration meant more as she wanted to show everyone that she was not going to bow down to anyone and was ready to fight for her right.

Players usually prefer to express their displeasure through symbolic gestures that cannot be expressed in words. She did exactly that on May 17, 2022, after picking up Janet Mbabazi’s wicket.

She was upset about the way she had been treated. Despite performing with both bat and ball regularly, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) removed her as the vice-captain of the team.

Since then, she has been in the form of her life. On Thursday, Sita Rana Magar’s team, the Armed Police Force, beat Koshi Province comfortably to become Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup champions for the third consecutive time.

The target

Leading from the front, Magar dominated with the bat with an unbeaten 79 becoming the player of the match. This was not the only time she had performed well in the tournament. In the five matches, no one scored more runs (214) than her and no one picked up more wickets (8) than her.

Magar won the player of the tournament for this, but it was clear she should have won the batter and bowler of the tournament as well. But she did not and no one know why.

The best batter was given to national team captain Rubina Chhetry who scored 139 runs in five games while the best bowler was given to Nisha Shah who picked up six wickets in five games.

After that, Sita Rana Magar questioned on Twitter why she was always targeted.

Sita Rana Magar
Sita Rana Magar plays a show against Koshi Province during the final of the Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup in which she scored 79 runs. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

This is the first time in the tournament that the top scorer did not win the best batter award. In Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup’s earlier edition, Jyoti Pandey, who has the most runs in the tournament, won the best batter award.

In the Prime Ministers Cup held in Itahari in January, Kabita Kunwar who had the most runs won the best batter award along with the player of the tournament.

So Magar not winning all three awards is quite strange as many are questioning if CAN is targeting her.

Progressive play

Sita Rana Magar’s performance before this tournament was not great. After being striped with the vice-captaincy, she had not performed well. But things changed during the Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup as she carried the team on her shoulders and won the cup for the third time in a row proving how good an all-rounder she was.

Since she became the captain of APF in 2019, Magar has led the team to five domestic trophies like the 8th National Games, Prime Ministers Cup, and three Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup.

So no one can question Sita Rana Magar’s leadership credentials. No one, apart from CAN, of course.

“I think I have proved myself as a cricketer and my importance to the team. I am so happy to have won the Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup,” she tells Onlinekhabar after the victory.

Lalitpur Mayor's Cup
APF-W celebrate after winning the Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup in Kathmandu on March 30, 2023. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

Sita Rana Magar is a member of the first batch of female cricketers in the country. A part of the team since 2007, the 31-year-old has seen all the highs and lows of Nepali women’s cricket. But that said, no one can question her performance or her commitment to the team as many consider her a role model.

So when she was made vice-captain, she took it as an honour. But when it was taken away from her without reason, it broke her.

Going global

Sita Rana Magar was picked by Tornadoes Women to play in FairBreak Invitational Tournament in May 2022. The team reached the final and won it.

While she was playing the tournament in Dubai, Nepal’s women’s team was playing a T20 series in Kathmandu against Uganda Women. She informed CAN that she would miss the first game of the series as her team had reached the final. Instead of replying, CAN stripped her as the vice-captain of the team.

“After that, I wanted to prove how good I was. They may think I am not worthy, but I have been giving my 100 per cent each game,” she says.

Sita Rana Magar does not care about being appointed a leader as she believes she can lead from the front with her performance with both bat and ball. She says all she cares about is playing her best and helping the team win games.

“I don’t think there is a lack of leadership in the national team. CAN has given leadership roles to others because it believes they can do a better job than me. It is okay I’ll play my game and help the team how I can,” she says.

This story was translated from the original Nepali version and edited for clarity and length.

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Dahal is a sports journalist at Onlinekhabar.

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