Deepa Chukkapalli: From Lancashire to Spain (via Bradford)

March 26, 2024

Deepa Chukkapalli, a 13-year-old cricketer who plays for Bradford Park Avenue Ladies, has been selected for the Spanish National Women’s cricket squad. Spanish Ladies head to Brescia in May to face Italy in a T10 series and Chukkapalli, picked by Spain for the first time, is expected to make her debut, according to Cricket España.

I’ve seen Deepa bowl and bat a few times at Bradford Park Avenue and in the Archer Cup in 2023. I caught up with her mum, Anna, to find out how the international recognition came about.

Deepa is a player from Lancashire who first connected with the game at the age of nine, inspired by watching her father play.

She has been part of the Lancashire squad for the past three years, starting with the U11 team and in the U13s for the last two years. She considers herself an all-rounder: left-arm fast bowler and left-hand batter.

Anna told me: “Last season, Deepa played for various teams including Lancashire CAG U13, Bradford Park Avenue Ladies, Ramsbottom Girls and Brooklands CC, juggling multiple teams, playing for various different leagues, training with her amazing personal coach, and also with her father and brother, and taking on as many chances as possible to play.”

By all accounts, last season went really well. Deepa took over 50 wickets, including a five-wicket haul with Ramsbottom, earning her first match ball, and won the Season’s Best Bowler Award with a strike rate of 8.

Her Yorkshire connection comes with Bradford Park Avenue Ladies and according to her mum, Deepa credits Kirsty Kirsty Gavillet (Club Chair) and Shivanie Patel (Secretary) with support and thanks all her team mates from BPAL in helping her improve by giving her opportunities to play in seniors league both as a bowler and a batter.

What interested me in this story is how a talented club cricketer ended up with an opportunity to play international cricket in another country; not something you see every day.

Over the years of doing interviews, you’d be surprised at how often a chance encounter influences a player’s fortunes (along with making the most of them).

Well, while on holiday in Barcelona, Deepa had the opportunity to meet the Spanish cricket team who were playing against the Czech Republic.

The Spanish coach saw her bowling and batting and invited Deepa to join the team. Now, Deepa has been called up for her first international match against Italy in May.

From Lancashire to Spain via Bradford.

Congratulations to Deepa and all the best for her season ahead in club, county and (hopefully) international cricket.

Full story here and access to the website.

-- John Fuller, and Bradford Park Avenue Ladies Cricket Club.

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