Diana Edulji is a former Indian women’s cricketer who played for the Indian women’s cricket team between 1976 and 1993. She was one of the pioneers of women’s cricket in India and the first female cricketer to be awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award by the Government of India. She was also awarded Padma Shri in 2002.
She was born on January 26, 1956, in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Diana Edulji comes from a family of sports enthusiasts. Her father was a former hockey player, and her brother was a cricketer. Edulji was encouraged to participate in sports from a very young age, and she initially had an interest in playing hockey like her father, but later, she switched to cricket.
Her debut for the Indian women’s cricket team was at 21 in 1976 against the West Indies. She was a left-arm spinner and a left-handed batter. Edulji played 20 Tests and 34 ODIs for India, taking 63 and 46 wickets, respectively. She had exceptional bowling skills, and her ability to turn the ball sharply led her to play very smartly.
Edulji was crucial to India’s 1982 Women’s Cricket World Cup success. She took 10 wickets in the tournament, including a match-winning 4 for 26 against Australia in the semifinals. India went on to win the final against England, with Edulji contributing an important 26 runs with the bat. She was appointed captain of the Indian women’s cricket team in 1991. She led the team in six Test matches and 13 ODIs.
Edulji also worked as a sports officer with Western Railways. She retired from international cricket in 1993 and continued to be involved in the sport as a coach and administrator. In 2006, she was appointed national selector for the Indian women’s cricket team and served in this role for six years. In 2018, she was also selected as a Committee of Administrators (CoA) member to oversee the BCCI in India following the Supreme Court’s order to reform the cricket body.
Several important reforms in Indian cricket marked her tenure as a member of the CoA. She ensured that the Indian women’s cricket team received better facilities and pay and pushed for greater representation of women in the sport. Under her leadership, the BCCI also introduced a number of initiatives to promote women’s cricket, including the Women’s T20 Challenge. This three-team tournament is played alongside the Indian Premier League.
Edulji’s contributions to Indian cricket have been recognized both nationally and internationally. In 2019, she was inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame, becoming only the third Indian woman to receive this honor.
Edulji has married Farokh Engineer, a former Indian cricketer, since 1984. She is also a trained classical singer and has performed in several concerts.
Diana Edulji has made significant contributions to Indian women’s cricket. Her dedication to the game and passion for promoting women’s cricket earned her widespread respect and admiration. As Indian cricket continues to grow and evolve, Edulji’s legacy will remain an inspiration for future generations of cricket.