Anju Gurung (born 10 April 1994) is a Bhutanese cricketer who plays for the national women's cricket team as a pace bowler. She is currently the vice-captain of the team, and a household name in Bhutan.
|Full name||Anju Gurung|
|Born||10 April 1994|
|T20I debut (cap 5)||13 January 2019 v Hong Kong|
|Last T20I||28 November 2021 v Malaysia|
Source: Cricinfo, 10 April 2022
Early life and careerEdit
Gurung hails from Gelephu, a small Bhutanese town on the border with India. She first played cricket at the age of 13. Since then, she has been surrounded by balls and bats, and has never looked back. She has said that she is still involved in the game because her mother has always supported her.
Since women's cricket was first played in Bhutan, Gurung has been part of the women's national team. She was one of the players who turned out for Bhutan women's international cricketing debut, against Qatar at the ACC Women's Twenty20 Championship in Malaysia on 3 July 2009.
Nearly five years later, on 17 February 2014, in Bhutan's final match of the 2014 ACC Women’s Premier tournament, held in Thailand in a 40 overs a side format, Gurung took 2/13 to help her team beat Iran in the play-off for fifth and sixth places.
In March 2018, Gurung had further success during the ASEAN Women's T20 Open Tournament, held in Thailand. On 8 March 2018, Bhutan batted first against Indonesia and scored only 48 runs, but Gurung then took 4/17, including by bowling both of Indonesia's opening pair of Yulia Anggraeni and Puji Haryanti, each for a duck, before Indonesia won the match by four wickets.
Four days later, on 12 March 2018, Bhutan again batted first, against Thailand, and scored only 16 runs. Gurung then opened the bowling for Bhutan, and bowled both of Thailand's opening pair, Natthakan Chantam and Naruemol Chaiwai, again each for a duck. Thailand later won the match by 8 wickets, with Gurung's final figures being 2/4.
On 13 January 2019, Gurung made her WT20I debut for Bhutan against Hong Kong at the Terdthai Cricket Ground, Bangkok, in a Group B match of the Thailand Women's T20 Smash, which was also Bhutan's first ever WT20I. Her best performance in that tournament was 2/16 against Indonesia.
Gurung's and Bhutan's next WT20I matches were at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier in Dubai in November 2021. In that tournament, Gurung's best figures were against Hong Kong; she took 3/10, including the wicket of Hong Kong skipper Kary Chan. Arguably the tournament's leading bowler, she ended up with a total of 7 wickets in her 5 games, at an economy rate of 4.05.
In March 2022, Gurung, by then the vice-captain of the Bhutanese team, was recruited to play in the 2022 FairBreak Invitational T20 tournament in Dubai in May 2022. She had been one of five Bhutanese players nominated by Cricket Bhutan's CEO as a potential recruit, after he had earlier contacted FairBreak's managing director to enquire about the tournament. On 19 April 2022, Gurung departed from Bhutan to undergo a 10-day training session with cricketers from Thailand, under the auspices of the Cricket Association of Thailand.
Guring is said to have "... a smooth run-up, rhythmical action, and an exaggerated leap before she delivers the ball." As well as being accurate, she is also claimed to have "... the rare ability to bring the ball back into right-handers."
Off the fieldEdit
Gurung is a household name in Bhutan. Many young, aspiring female cricketers look up to her. In a profile published in February 2022, Bhutan Cricket claimed that "[w]ith her big nerd glasses, unkempt blonde hair, and bright smile, [she] looks more like a pop star ..."
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