(October 31, 2023) Her journey started when she would accompany her father to pick up her brother from the local cricket academy. Realising her passion for the sport, Laasya Mullapudi’s father enrolled her in the California Cricket Academy as well. At the age of 12, the young cricketer had a dream of representing her country, which later came true for the young left-handed top-order batter as she got hand-picked for the USA Under-19 squad. Currently playing as the team’s vice-captain, Laasya is inspired by Indian cricketer Smriti Mandhana and dedicated her recent century to her.
“My plan for a possible professional cricket career is to play in bigger leagues, such as WIPL and BBL, as well as The Hundred,” the cricketer said in a recent interview, “The recently held ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup at South Africa has been a great tournament for me, and it greatly benefited me as well as the team. It was quite significant for the USA and the development of the sport in this country. I am looking forward to representing the USA in such a big tournament going ahead, and winning big.”
On the front foot
Her parents moved to California in the late 90s in search of better opportunities. Laasya, who finds her father to be the most critical figure and her mentor, was always an outdoor girl. “I got involved in cricket by watching my brother play and attending his practice sessions and games,” the cricketer said in an interview, adding, “I began playing cricket for the California Cricket Academy (CCA) and currently play them. I started playing when I was 12 years old. Throughout my journey, my father has been one of the most influential people in my life. I enjoy speaking to and learning the game from him. He has been by my side throughout my career and knows my playing style and mentality the best.”
Just a year into the academy, the young cricketer was picked to play a local team, where she took her team to victory. And that was her pass to the national team. But, cricket isn’t the only sport this champion plays. Growing up in a family of sportspersons, Laasya played several sports at school. “I love to play sports. During my time away from cricket, I represent my school in badminton and run in my free time. I am still a student and attend school and participate in several school activities. However, I must admit that if I were not playing cricket, I would continue playing badminton,” the cricketer said.
Training at the CCA, the cricketer has been working hard on her bowling skills as well. Incidentally a right-arm leg spinner, Laasya is on the course to serve her team as an all-rounder. “Every team needs a good all-rounder. I have proven myself with the bat and now I am working on my bowling skills. It’s hard, but I think I can learn the skill, which will help my team better.”
Batting for her country
Lassi, as her teammates call her, feels an urgent need to attract more young cricket players to the USA. “Cricket should be incorporated in schools starting from a younger age and offered as a sport in colleges. Spreading cricket throughout the school system will automatically help attract female cricketers in the USA. I feel that several young players have the potential to do good at the international level. As a nation which is just entering the international scene, I feel USA schools should work on training these young talents,” the cricketer said.
Talking about her future plans and inspiration, she said, “I have attempted to model my innings based on India’s female national cricketer, Smriti Shriniwas Mandhana’s innings. As someone who is quite dedicated, I am looking to score a century in the upcoming ICC tournament, Another achievement would be to score a half-century in under twelve overs.”