Priyanjali Jain is truly a global ambassador of cricket. Born and raised in India, Priyanjali has played cricket for 3 different associate countries i.e Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE. In a brief chat with Yasmin Daswani, Priyanjali shares her experience playing for these associate countries and highlights the key challenges faced by them.
Full name Priyanjali Jain
Born: October 8, 1991, India
Major teams: Hong Kong, Singapore & United Arab Emirates Women
How are you feeling about the upcoming Qualifiers?
This is the first time that UAE has made it to the World Cup Qualifiers, and is an amazing opportunity for us to get exposure to some very good quality cricket.
When the ACC (Asian Cricket Council) used to organize tournaments, UAE would generally rank 9th or 10th. However, over the last 3 years, we have won the Gulf Cup twice. Most recently we came runners up at the Asia Qualifiers earning us a spot in the World Qualifiers.
One key strength of the UAE team is that we have a good mix of experience and young talent. We also have a strong batting side but did not perform up to our potential in the Asia Cup Qualifiers.
The team is excited about the upcoming World Qualifiers and we are determined to put our best foot forward.
Your situation is unique in that you have played for three different associate countries! Talk me through your experience and what you have learned.
I have played for three different associate countries: Singapore, Hong Kong and now UAE!
I think I have been so lucky as I have had the chance to learn lots in terms of strategy, technique and match preparation from various coaches and players.
Moving from one team to another is quite a strange experience at first because suddenly you’re wearing the same jersey and practicing in the nets with the people that you have played against in previous tournaments. However, on both occasions, when I moved to Hong Kong and then to UAE, the players in both teams were very welcoming and accepted me as a part of their team. Now I’ve got friends in all three teams!
The other thing that is interesting is when I have to play against a former team. There’s a lot of banter and sledging but all in good spirit!
In relation to similarities and differences: when I started playing for Singapore it was the first time that Singapore had played cricket internationally. So I have really seen the initial stages of development in Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE. I think Hong Kong was always a little bit ahead compared to Singapore and UAE in terms of the local infrastructure for cricket. They had a domestic league before Singapore and UAE started their domestic leagues. I think that really makes a big difference. The more matches you play, the faster you improve.
What are the challenges that associate women’s cricket faces?
A common problem for all the associate teams is a lack of competitive matches. Domestic leagues are great but you end up playing against the same players and after a while you just know what to expect.
It is absolutely critical that the associate teams play against each other more and have more training camps so that we can get to the next level. Of course this problem also stems from the fact that there is not enough money pumped into women’s cricket in most of the associate countries. There’s definitely a lot that needs to be done but things have slowly improved over the last few years and I do hope that associate women’s cricket will continue to do so.
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