Alana King reconnects with her family roots as she returns to India for T20 International series – ABC News

Alana King reconnects with her family roots as she returns to India for T20 International series
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The Australian women's cricket team are all set to play India in a five-match T20I bi-lateral series in Mumbai, with the first match scheduled for Saturday.
The tour marks the side's first time playing in subcontinent conditions in more than four years, meaning some of their youngest players – like Annabel Sutherland and Darcie Brown – have never experienced them before.
For Alana King, however, the chance to travel back to India means another chance to connect with her roots, considering her parents Leroy and Sharon King originally hail from Chennai. Once married, the couple emigrated to Melbourne in the 1980s, where King and her brother Marc were born.
"One of Dad's older sisters moved across and saw there were more opportunities here," King told the ABC, "So Dad brought Mum over with him and now most of his family lives in Australia."
"I think it was pretty hard for them in the beginning. It was tough to leave their family behind and a big adjustment to move from the subcontinent to a developed country. It was also a big sacrifice on their part, but they wanted to give us a better start in life."
The 26-year-old leg spinner has visited her extended family in India several times and has already plied her trade on their spin-friendly pitches once in 2022.
Back in May, in between making her Ashes debut, clinching the ICC Women's World Cup title and claiming Commonwealth Games gold, King suited up for the Supernovas in the Women's T20 Challenge and played a key role helping the team win the final (3/32) and lift their third trophy.
Next year, the Women's T20 Challenge will likely be abandoned, after reports have suggested the BCCI will launch its much-anticipated Women's IPL in March 2023.
The inaugural season is expected to run over the period of a month and feature up to six franchises, potentially linking the women with some of the men's existing teams.
The game's biggest players around the world have repeatedly expressed their desire to play in a WIPL and have been waiting for the BCCI to get their act together for several years, after countries like England and Australia surged ahead with The Hundred and Women's Big Bash League.
For King, the news that a WIPL finally looks like its on the horizon is incredibly exciting – especially hearing that the Chennai Super Kings are interested in being involved.
"I love India, I've been a few times with my family, so the opportunity to go back for their T20 Challenge this year meant more to me than just a chance to play cricket," King said.
"It was held in Pune, which is pretty close to where my Mum and Dad were born, and it was so great to play alongside the Indian players and see the talent they have in their domestic pathways."
"I had lots of fun and made some great friends, so hopefully when the WIPL is launched, I'm back over there playing and get picked up for the Chennai team."
"I'd 100 per cent be keen to put on the yellow and play for them, and I know my parents would love that too, but really, any team that wants to pick me up I'll be more than happy to go."
When it comes to the international stage, Australia and India have had some tense battles over the years, dating back to as recently as the Birmingham Commonwealth Games final in August.
India looked like they might have their hands on the gold medal after captain Harmanpreet Kaur's electric innings (65) put them in a good position to chase down the 162 runs required for victory.
When Kaur departed, her side were 5/121 and they came extremely close to pulling off a remarkable upset, but ultimately fell short by just 10 runs.
Earlier in the tournament, India also had the Aussies on the back foot in the group stages, when they'd forced a top-order collapse to leave the team reeling at 5/49 chasing 155.
A sixth-wicket partnership between hard-hitters Ash Gardner (52 not out) and Grace Harris (37) kept the Australians in with a fighting chance, and in the end, it was a boundary from King (18 not out) that completed their epic comeback with an over to spare.
Unfortunately, this narrative has become a bit of a habit for the Indian side, who've shown they're more than capable of beating the world's number-one team, but have struggled to keep up the intensity required to do so for an entire game.
Whilst King is obviously keen for Australia's dominance to continue, she shares the widespread view that the India women's side is simply a sleeping giant, just waiting to tap into its full potential.
"The three matches I've played against India so far have shown the quality they can produce."
"They're a phenomenal group and they've got some dangerous players, so they're always a challenge and will be even tougher when we play them in their own conditions."
"When they can get a women's IPL going, they'll be exposed to a lot more players at a competitive level and that will make a huge difference because they'll be facing internationals and the best domestic players India has to offer on a regular basis."
"They'll also probably discover some new faces in the process … that's what's happened for us with the WBBL … I truly believe our national team is strong because of our Australian setup."
"So, if you can grow your domestic competition and put more time and effort into that, your national team will of course in turn become stronger."
Focusing on the now, King hopes her presence at a national level, as well as Usman Khawaja's in the men's, will inspire the next generation of subcontinent immigrants to pick up a bat and a ball.
"The cliché saying is 'you can't be what you can't see', but it rings true and hopefully young boys and girls of subcontinent backgrounds here will see me having plenty of fun wearing the green and gold and playing the sport I absolutely love."
"I hope I can inspire them to join their local club and help them realise that if you really love the sport and work hard, you just never know where it could take you."
The Australia vs India women's T20 series begins in the early hours this Saturday morning, and given her track record so far in the green and gold, fans can expect Alana King to play a big part.
This article originally appeared in the ABC Cricket Magazine.
1st T20I – December 10, Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, Mumbai, 12:30am AEDT
2nd T20I – December 12, Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, Mumbai, 12:30am AEDT
3rd T20I – December 15, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, 12:30am AEDT
4th T20I – December 18, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, 12:30am AEDT
5th T20I – December 21, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, 12:30am AEDT
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