|Full name||Shikha Subas Pandey|
|Born||12 May 1989|
|Test debut||13 August 2014 v England|
|Last Test||16 November 2014 v South Africa|
|ODI debut||21 August 2014 v England|
|Last ODI||28 February 2019 v England|
|T20I debut||9 March 2014 v Bangladesh|
|Last T20I||9 March 2019 v England|
Source: Cricinfo, 9 March 2019
Shikha Pandey (born 12 May 1989) is an Indian cricketer. She made her international Twenty20 (T20) debut on 9 March 2014 while playing against Bangladesh at Cox's Bazar cricket stadium in Bangladesh. In August of the same year, she made her One Day International cricket (ODI) and Test cricket debut while playing against England at Wormsley and Scarborough respectively. As of 5 July 2017[update] she has played two Tests, twenty seven ODIs and twenty two T20s for India.
Pandey did her schooling under the Central Board of Secondary Education, India. At the age of 15, she became the first player affiliated with state board to represent India. Within months of this affiliation and getting introduced into the formal set-up, Surekha Bhandare, former Mumbai player and selector, saw her playing and believed that Pandey had all the markings of a future India player. "The raw talent in her was hard to go unnotice," Bhandare was quoted stating. In the class-ten board (secondary school) exams, she won the state-wide third rank. It was then that she decided to focus more on studies and cricket took a back seat for the next three years. It was not before her second year as an undergraduate in Electronics and Electrical Engineering that she begun pursuing the sport with serious intent.
Academics has always been important to Pandey and had to juggle cricket and college, where she would spend her morning doing gym sessions and academic work, and her afternoons would include a 12km journey to Mapusa so she could train under Nitin Vernekar, former Goa cricketer and Sports Authority of Goa coach. This phase was very crucial to her growth as a cricketer as being the only girl at the boy's facility facing U-16 and U-19 boys honed her reaction time against pace bowler.
However, she did not let her focus on game affect her academic performance. She particularly credits Ujwala Phadte, her lecturer in Applied Mathematics for helping her through out this phase and making sure her grades were not inversely proportional to her on-field performance.
After completing her engineering degree from Goa College of Engineering in 2010, three multinational companies offered her opportunities, but she declined all these placement offers and decided to take a year off and focus on her cricketing career completely. In July 2011, she joined Indian Air Force, and in June 2012 was commissioned as an Air traffic controller.
At the age of 15, Pandey was slected to play for Goa in 2004. Later at the age of 17 for the 2007–08 domestic season, she was selected to play for Goa's Women Senior State Side. In the inter-state two-day tournament, Rani Jhansi Trophy, she picked up a four-wicket haul. This was also her Goa senior women's debut. Thirushi Kamini, then already an Indian international, was her first wicket which was a caught-and-bowled. What fast-tracked her selection into the zonal squad the same season was her scoring three half-centuries for the Goa Under-19 side.
In her year off from her engineering course and Pandey played in Board President's XI against the visiting England and West Indies teams in 2010 and January 2011 respectively and also took her first "international wicket, albeit unofficial," Charlotte Edwards in the 2010 tour game. She continued to play for Goa and after 2013–14 season of Inter-State T20 tournament (Plate group) she was selected for India's tour of Bangladesh consisting 3 friendly matches with Bangladesh and 2014 ICC Women's World Twenty20. After Dilip Sardesai, she is the first player from Goa to play for any Indian national team. She is also the first Goa Cricket Association affiliated cricketer to play international level cricket for India. She is the first Goa-born player to play ODIs and international T20s and 2nd player to play Test cricket, after Saredesai, thus becoming first cricketer to have played both state level cricket for Goa and international level cricket for India. After the T20 World Cup, she played one-off Test match and 2 ODI matches against England. She was instrumental in India's win against South Africa on 26 November 2014. She took 3 wickets and scored 59 runs.
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