May 20, 1977, New Delhi
Left hand bat
Right arm medium
When Anjum Chopra is at the wicket it is difficult to keep memories of David Gower out of the mind. Batting left handed she has forced journalists to overuse the phrase 'lazy elegance.' She has been one of India's premier batswomen for a while now. Playing predominantly through the 'V' Chopra does not hesitate to come down the wicket to the spinners. Usually a slow starter, Chopra is all timing and hardly ever tries to tonk the ball. Equally comfortable on the off and on side Chopra can bat anywhere at the top of the order. When she went to England in mid 1999 her coach, Sudha Shah remarked that Chopra was a better suited to the longer version of the game. In the first and second one dayers played, Chopra came up with match winning innings including a sparkling century off 127 balls.
In the Cricinfo Rani Jhansi Trophy Chopra finished with an average of over 55 and chalked up the highest individual score, a classy unbeaten 89. A safe pair of hands, Chopra fields close to the wicket and is usually in the slips if one is required. The CricInfo Women's World Cup 2000 was the ideal stage for her to make a name for herself. As vice-captain and opening batswoman, Chopra had a chance to contribute strongly to India's cause. However, in a tournament where she did not do consistently well (Chopra had scores of 13, 69, 0, 47, 0, 70, 68 and 0), the biggest disappointment came in the crucial semi-final clash against New Zealand.
Chopra was dismissed for a first-ball duck and India struggled thereafter. Knocked out in the semifinal, India had to be content watching from the sidelines as Australia and New Zealand contested the final. But five years later, in South Africa, she helped India to the final - although they were vanquished by Australia.
On India's tour of England in 2006, Chopra led the way to a Test-series win with 98 at Taunton as India won by five wickets. She also managed a couple of useful scores in the one-dayers, though India lost the series 4-0. She was shortlisted for the inaugural ICC Women's Player of the Year Award, which she lost out to Karen Rolton, the Australian captain.
Chopra was part of India's third successive victorious Asia Cup campaign in December 2006, though she only got to bat in three of the five games at Jaipur. Her form was mediocre in the Quadrangular tournament in early 2007. But she was rewarded for her consistent performance over the years when she won the Arjuna award, one of India's highest sporting honours, in August 2007. No male cricketer has won the award since Harbhajan Singh receieved it in 2003.
However she wasn't picked for the next two series - the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and the tour of England - and made her comeback for the tour of Australia in October 2008 on the back of a credible performance in the domestic Challenger Series.
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