Aussies and cricket have always been close. The Australian approach to dominate is closely stitched with cricketing history. In men’s cricket, Aussie rose suddenly after Windies fall off their might. In women’s cricket, they are the fittest and one of the consistent teams to have played the game.
The game has, however, taken a different course for women in recent times. The money, the fame, and the recognition were not something that came along its inception. We shall travel alongside Karen Rolton and take a glance at her wonderful journey as she remembers in an interview published by Cricket Australia.
She narrates a tale for her ashes days of the year 2001. She had a successful campaign and had scored 209 as an opener which brought a record to her name. However, the interesting part comes when she returned to her work and her colleagues were celebrating her duck that she got in first innings. Unlike today, female cricketers had to work after they finished their duties on the field and there was a life that had to be earned off the field as well.
Karen had always adored a simpler and normal way of living. That’s why she hardly complained of daily hustles that she went through. She, now, lives in Melbourne and is enjoying her normal way of living. Nonetheless, her love for the game and sport has not lessened. She is connected to the game through her coaching ventures in Melbourne Renegades and the local women’s club. Rolton has a happy face for all her alibis and is friendly and warm off the field.
However, her gentleness vanished when she faced opposition. She had a phenomenal career of 15 years which had a whopping 141 matches. Moreover, she led the side from 2006 to 2009 when she retired from the game. Her achievements in all three formats of the game have been outstanding. She has represented Australia for 141 times in one-day matches and has had an average of 48. Her highest score was 154 not out.
In the shorter format of the game, she played her and her team’s first T20 match. In the very first outing, she scored 96. In red-ball cricket, she came out even better with an average of 55. She has two centuries under her belt in 14 test matches. During her run in the Australian side, it was pure domination from the team. The team had great success and is still an exception.
She remembers that there was a lot of accountability in the squad with some big names alongside her. Nevertheless, it was not easy to work and play. The team had full-time jobs and had to train later. There were times when the job took a toll, but it was the motivation to play for the nation that got them going. Her stint as captain was driven towards getting the best of herself and her mates. Her teammates and the experts of the game laud her for changing the face of Australian women’s cricket with her dedication. She got herself into Hall of Fame in 2018 where her memorable inning against South Africa was relived.
Like all other greats of the game, she has always enjoyed the pressure and doesn’t mind playing in tough situations. Her attacking style gave her the nickname of “two hits” as she lofted two balls to chase 11 runs while her teammates were thinking of singles. She confessed hating getting out early in test matches and wanted to play as long as possible. For T20, she feels that her technique needed no big change. She now enjoys the younger generations at play. She, however, is reluctant is acknowledging her achievements as it makes feel older. She is an integral part of the elite club of Australian legends who have nurtured the game in its early days.
A student who enjoys studying cricket more than anything else, keen to learn the insights of the women’s game.