WPL 2024 Auction: Keerthana Balakrishnan, the daughter of a taxi driver, emerges amidst prominent personalities

Daughter of a taxi driver, Keerthana Balakrishnan finds her way among big names

Keerthana Balakrishnan made history as the first cricketer from Tamil Nadu to join the Women’s Premier League (WPL). On Saturday, December 9, defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) selected Keerthana for her base price of INR 10 lakhs after auctioneer Mallika Sagar signaled her bidding closure with the hammer.

MI acquired the all-rounder, along with Amandeep Kaur, S Sajana, Fatima Jaffer, and former South Africa fast bowler Shabnim Ismail.

Experienced Indian men’s wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik expressed immense joy when Keerthana secured her first WPL contract to play for the team led by national skipper Harmanpreet Kaur.

Keerthana received training under TS Mukund, father of veteran batter Abhinav Mukund, at his academy. As a leg spinner, Keerthana excels with the ball and also proves her worth with the bat, contributing valuable runs in the lower middle order.

TS Mukund mentors budding cricketers from underprivileged backgrounds, offering them coaching without any charges. Besides coaching, Mukund supplies cricket equipment to support his students.

Coming from a modest family background where her father works as a call taxi driver, Keerthana’s selection by a prominent and successful team like MI marks a significant opportunity for the 23-year-old to make her mark in the cricketing world.

Keerthana’s cricket journey has seen her representing four teams – Tamil Nadu Women, Indian Green Women, South Zone Women, and Orange Dragons Women – providing her opportunities to play alongside esteemed figures in Indian cricket.

During the 2021-22 Freyer Cup, she showcased her skills by scoring 102 runs with an average of 34 and a strike rate of 86, also claiming four wickets. Notably, she’s secured three three-wicket hauls while competing for Tamil Nadu Women in One-Day tournaments.

As an all-rounder, Keerthana stands to gain significant insights from her MI teammates, particularly from revered players like Harmanpreet, Issy Wong, Hayley Matthews, Nat Sciver-Brunt, and Amelia Kerr, all esteemed for their exceptional all-round abilities.