Kaya Kumar breaks records, wins top Cricket NSW awards

By Indira Laisram
Kaya Kumar // Pic supplied

Kaya Kumar has made history by being honoured with the ‘Junior Female Player of the Year’ and ‘Best Batter of the Year’ awards by Cricket NSW for U13 girls. At just 12 years old, she is believed to be the youngest recipient of these awards in Cricket NSW’s history, making this achievement a remarkable birthday present. She turned 12 on April 27.

Throughout the representative season, Kaya broke numerous records, notably becoming the highest aggregate run scorer in junior girls’ representative and district cricket history, including U15. She amassed an impressive 399 runs at an average of 99.75, with a strike rate just over 100 per cent. This includes a quickfire 106* in just 9 games of the 30-over Mollie Dive matches, making her the youngest to achieve this milestone.

In addition to her batting prowess, Kaya also took 7 wickets and made 9 catches as Vice-Captain for Parramatta. She made significant contributions in the U15 competition as well. Kaya scored over 1,000 runs for two consecutive years and took numerous wickets (61+42) while playing club matches with boys and senior girls.

“As a young girl in cricket, I feel a sense of excitement and empowerment. While historically a male-dominated sport, I see more opportunities being created for us. With dedication and skill, I believe girls can challenge stereotypes and break barriers,” says an elated Kaya.

Kaya’s cricket journey began when she was just three years old. “I started playing with my brother when he practiced in our backyard. I still remember, I couldn’t even lift the bat but still wanted to play. My dad has so many pictures and videos of me playing.”

When Kaya was seven, she joined Woolworths’ Master Blaster program to learn basic cricket skills, and her mother enrolled her in the Hills Barbarians Cricket Club to play stage 2 girls’ cricket. She still remembers scoring a run on her very first ball.

Pic supplied

At eight, Kaya started playing U13 representative cricket for Penrith, and by nine, she was playing U15 girls’ cricket. Initially, playing with the older girls was slightly scary for her, but after a few games, she overcame her fear.

Currently, she plays for Parramatta, where she vice-captained the U13 team this season and has also played a few U15 representative games. She has become the highest run-scorer in the history of junior girls’ representative cricket, including U15 girls’ rep cricket, with a total of 399 runs at an average of 99.75 and a strike rate close to 90, achieved in just nine matches.

“I also play club cricket with boys and senior ladies. I’m the top scorer and a decent wicket-taker in U12 boys’ cricket, and in the senior ladies’ cricket, which is over 14 years, I’m the second top wicket-taker and run scorer,” she says.

Kaya has scored over 1,000 runs in back-to-back seasons and is one of the few players to have scored a century in U13 representative cricket. Her current total stands at 1,108 runs with an average of 50.36, along with 38 wickets. She bowls leg spin, and her best figures are 6-6-6.

Last year, she scored 1,326 runs and took 60 wickets in total. She had the opportunity to vice-captain the NSW PSSA team, leading them to win the national championship in Darwin, where she also scored the most runs for NSW. The Parrammatta District Cricket Association also crowned Kaya with Player of the Year award.

With such an impressive record, this Year 6 student of Sherwood Ridge Public School has indeed become a face for promoting multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion in cricket.

Pic supplied

This year, Kaya will be playing in the state championship and the Nationals. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed to become the state captain for the nationals,” she says.

Not surprising then that cricket means everything to her. “Playing cricket brings me joy, happiness, and a sense of belonging. It’s a way of life where I learn valuable lessons about teamwork, perseverance, and sportsmanship. Cricket empowers me to push my limits, overcome challenges, and celebrate victories, both on and off the field.”

And who knew that chasing a ball could also lead to lifelong friendships? Kaya says, “It’s a fantastic way to make friends—my closest pals, Mithula, Gayathri and Kamakshi, are teammates I met through cricket.”

Her proud father Rajesh Kumar extends his gratitude to all the coaches at PDCA and PWGCC for allowing her to train with the grade players. He hopes she continues to play the game for many more years and proudly shares that she is also the top basketball player in the state. Incidentally, Kaya was ranked as the number 1 player in the state and among the top 50 young athletes in Australia.

Importantly, she says, “I am proud to be part of a growing movement towards gender equality in cricket and sports.”

Connect with Indira Laisram on Twitter

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