For all these ladies playing in the ICC Women’s World Cup qualifiers, cricket has been a part of their lives, a very significant one of course but in parallel, there lies a different face of each of these women signifying their individuality and personal lives.
The tournament has shown cricketing spirit and admirable talent that women around the world hold in the sport labelled as “the gentleman’s game”.
Stefanie Taylor of West Indies, currently the No 1 all-rounder in women’s cricket has had an enthralling journey. The recently-awarded ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year shares how football, which she was involved in since her primary school days, was her preferred sport rather than cricket. She started looking into the sport under her coach’s influence and discovered herself to be quite a natural at it.
“I found myself to be naturally good at it, it is like an inborn talent for me,” says a gleaming Taylor. She played for her school team to get herself into the Jamaican clubs and in no time, Taylor raised herself to be selected into the national team.
A high school graduate, Taylor’s tally of achievements have been large so far but she wants to pursue her studies, waiting to get into university next year where she wants to study forensics and have a related career.
She takes inspiration from another opener who is a superstar in the men’s game. “I love Chris Gayle, not because he is from West Indies, but because of how he plays,” she said. This very poised and confident right-hand batswoman and off-break bowler looks forward to taking her country to great heights and believes, they have no threats in the competition, an ambition that was highlighted in their first game where she smashed a century. “Bangladesh and Japan are new for us, where we know how the Netherlands, USA, Ireland play. We are playing hard and I am very confident that we will qualify for the World Cup,” said Taylor.
Similarly, Irish cricketers, the Joyce sisters partook on sharing the very interesting outside life each has apart from their cricketing careers. Isobel Joyce, a right-handed batswoman and left-arm medium pace bowler of Ireland works in different primary and secondary schools back home, coaching hockey to pupils of age 6 till 18 and coaching them cricket during summers.
Her perimeter does not end here as she is also involved in sports journalism simultaneously. “Two days a week, I work in a newspaper as a sports sub-editor”, states Isobel.
Balancing work and cricket gets tough, as she explains, “Sometimes it (cricket) has to come second”. A devoted Isobel wishes that cricket had more opportunities and that the papers gave more coverage.
Isobel’s twin sister Cecelia Joyce, a right-handed batswoman and leg spin bowler for the Ireland team, is a trainee solicitor, in line to become a full solicitor, working in a big law firm. Even Cecelia faces time constraints for allocating her time for cricket completely, which necessitates a good deal of practice and fitness, where she explains, “it can be harsh to get the time to train and be as fit and strong as I’d like to be”.
Cecelia considers cricket her passion although she plays hockey as well, like her sister Isobel. Cecelia’s focal objective here in this tournament is to prove the ability of the Irish women’s team and when asked about her goal here, she stated, “to get through to the World Cup, showing everybody that the Irish Women’s team is capable and talented enough to win”.
-With The Daily Star input