Students in UAE miss exams to help country qualify for U-19 T20 World Cup

It was a tough call for the players to skip paper and represent the country


Nandini Sircar

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The UAE U-19 team in action. Photo: Supplied
The UAE U-19 team in action. Photo: Supplied

Published: Tue 12 Jul 2022, 4:10 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Jul 2022, 10:46 PM

It was a tough call for UAE's Teertha Sathish and a few others like her, who missed their board exams to participate in the qualifiers for the inaugural ICC U19 Women's T20 World Cup.

But it was worth every effort for Teertha, a student of Gems Modern Academy (GMA), who played a captain's knock to salvage the innings.

She was awarded the Player of the Match and helped the UAE get into the finals after registering a win over Thailand.

Emotions ran high, and tears of joy trickled down everybody's eyes - not only from the participants but also for the accompanying proud parents who are UAE residents.

Teertha Sathish. Photo: Supplied
Teertha Sathish. Photo: Supplied

In an interview with Khaleej Times, the skipper explains how she managed to juggle her schedule effectively in grade 10, but had to take a tough call to miss a paper in Grade 12.

Teertha's unbeaten 38 and a collective bowling performance helped the UAE win by six wickets against the Thai team in June in Malaysia.

She appeared for the exams at a later date, with special permission from the ISC (The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations) Board.

Theertha, a left-handed wicketkeeper-batter, highlights, "It was an incredible experience, representing the country and leading the team to the first-ever U19 World Cup tournament.

"Winning the qualifiers was certainly the highlight for the team, where each player contributed significantly to our victories. There were a few low points before the qualifiers, but we came together as a team stronger, passionate and united."

Talking about the training sessions, she says, "We had quite a few intense and productive practice sessions before the qualifiers, and we played some matches against the boys, which helped us understand our team better."

When asked whether it was a difficult decision for her to skip the board exams, the Chennai-born Indian expat adds, "My parents and I were more focused on finding a way to appear for my exams as well as play the matches. This was the same concern for other players in the team. My parents and school have always supported my sporting commitments throughout my schooling journey, no matter the outcome."

The Dubai resident, who initially missed her Business Studies paper due to the tournament, ultimately sat for the paper on her return from the Asia Cup qualifier. "My school requested the Board to set another date. I thank my school for its support and encouragement."

Like Teertha, 16-year old Siya Gokhale says, "It was a fantastic experience to represent the UAE on a global platform."


She adds, "There was a great understanding between the players, making it quite memorable. Like many of the girls, my exams coincided with the tournament dates. Fortunately, my parents and school were supportive and were willing to prepone my exams."

Siya, who has a keen interest in aviation, intends to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. "To continue my career in cricket, I am aiming for a university here in the UAE, mainly the Emirates Aviation University."

Relaying her message to young sportswomen like herself, Siya adds, "In the past few years, we have seen sports for girls grow exponentially. So, I would say keep your passion for the sport alive. There are a lot of new opportunities coming up for girls, so keep playing the sport we love and make the most of what is there."

January 2023 will see the first-ever edition of the ICC U19 Women's T20 World Cup held in South Africa, where 16 teams will represent the blockbuster event revealing the best young female prospects in world cricket.

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