Poonam Yadav is an Indian cricketer who plays as a leg-spin bowler for the India women’s national cricket team. She has played for Central Zone, Uttar Pradesh and Railways in domestic cricket. In 2023, she was bought by the franchise team Delhi Capitals for the Women’s Premier League (WPL).
Poonam Yadav was born on Saturday, 24 August 1991 (age 31 years; as of 2022) in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Her zodiac sign is Virgo.
During childhood, she was ridiculed for her short height. Although she had an interest in multiple sports, her short height wouldn’t let her prosper in any other sports but cricket. In cricket, her height became a blessing in disguise, making her a highly skilled leg-spinner. She grew up playing gully cricket with boys in her neighbourhood. In 2007, she started training at the Eklavya Sports Stadium under senior cricketers like Hemalatha Kala. In the beginning, her father was strictly against her daughter pursuing a career in sports. It was her coach M K Afghani (late) and fellow players Manoj Kushwaha and Hemlata Kala who convinced her father to let Poonam opt for a cricketing career. Even though her family was on board, Poonam faced sexism from society. In 2010, Manoj Kushwaha became her coach. She joined Indian Railways as a junior clerk in 2011 in the Agra division of North Central Railway from sports quota. Later, she became the office superintendent of the railway’s record department.
Height: 5’ 1”
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her family originally hails from Mahuahar village, Mainpuri district, Uttar Pradesh. They settled in Agra in 1990, a year after which Poonam was born. Her father, Raghuveer Singh Yadav, is a retired army officer (Subedar Major). Later, he started working as a lecturer at Arya Kanya Inter College at Sikandrarao, Hathras. Her mother, Munna Devi, is a homemaker. Poonam is the second youngest among four siblings which include two brothers and a sister. One of his brother’s name is Ashu
She is unmarried.
She has played for the domestic/state teams Central Zone, Uttar Pradesh, and Railways. She captained the Uttar Pradesh team that won the Under-19 championship in 2010. She represented the team Supernovas in the Women’s T20 Challenge in 2019 and 2020. Supernovas won the 2019 Women’s T20 Challenge beating Velocity in the final by 4 wickets.
In the 2022 Women’s T20 Challenge, she represented Trailblazers. In the Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy (2022), she was a part of India A team (also called India Blue). Other domestic teams that she has represented include India Red and Trailblazers.
On 5 April 2013, she made her international debut in a Women’s Twenty20 International (WT20I) match against Bangladesh during the Bangladesh Women’s tour of India 2012/13, held in Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, Gujarat. India Women won by 10 runs. This game was the third of the 3-match series in which India was leading 2-0. Yadav performed her spell with the ball, picking 3 important wickets on her debut game, helping India clinch the series 3-0. On 12 April 2013, she made her ODI debut in a match against Bangladesh held at Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad, Gujarat during the Bangladesh Women’s tour of India 2012/13. India Women won by 58 runs. On 16 November 2014, she made her Test Series debut in a match against South Africa held at Gangothri Glades Cricket Ground, Mysore, Karnataka during the South Africa Women’s tour of India 2014/15. India Women won by 34 runs. During the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, she claimed 2 wickets in her 10 overs giving away just 23 runs to save India from a loss against Sri Lanka. She was the joint-leading wicket-taker for India in the 2018 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, with eight dismissals in five matches. In September 2018, she became India’s highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 Internationals, with 57 wickets from 39 T20Is, surpassing veteran senior teammate Jhulan Goswami. She was named to India’s squad for the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. In the opening game of the tournament, Yadav had Australia in knots when she took 4 wickets for 19 runs, bagging the title of Player of the Match.
In the next match against Bangladesh, she again showcased her skills by taking 3 wickets, helping in India’s 2nd consecutive victory in the world cup. Although India reached the final, it lost to Australia by 85 runs. Her impeccable performance led her to be selected in the ICC Women’s T20 playing XI of the World Cup, which featured teenage sensation Shafali Verma as the 12th player. In May 2021, she was named to India’s Test squad for their one-off match against the England women’s cricket team. She was named to India’s squad for 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL)
In 2021, she signed with the franchise team Brisbane Heat to play in the WBBL.
Women’s Premier League (WPL)
In 2023, she was bought by the franchise team Delhi Capitals at a base price of Rs 30 lakh for the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL).
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Arjuna Award (2019)
- Bowler of the Year Award—Female at the India Cricket Heroes event (2019)
- BCCI Cricketer of the Year award (2020)
- Her batting style is right-hand bat, and her bowling style is Legbreak Googly. Poonam started off as a medium pacer but later changed her style to a leg spinner.
- Shane Warne is her idol. Apart from that, MS Dhoni and Neetu David are her favourite cricketers.
- Manoj Khushwa is her personal coach.
- She plays in jersey number 24 for India Women.
- She is the first Uttar Pradesh woman Ccicketer to get Arjuna Award.
- There was a time around 2009-10 when her performance while playing for Uttar Pradesh dipped significantly. At that time, she nearly thought of quitting the sport, but her father helped her rebuild her confidence. According to her, joining Railways was the turning point of her life as her game improved remarkably after that.
- Her dream-come-true moments happened during the 2017 Women’s World Cup when she played the final at Lord’s and met Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi post-tournament.
- Coming from a humble background, she used to live in a single room with her siblings. Initially, she used to practice twice a day, riding back and forth on her cycle with a kit. Soon, she started practising three times a day, realizing that practising twice wasn’t enough. Firstly, it was before school, she would warm her body. Then, after school, she went back to the ground at 2 pm and train personally for an hour. Then, she rested at the ground for nearly 90 minutes and joined other children in the nets in the evening batch.