A player, a coach, and a sports scientist, this talented player, who plays her county cricket for Warwickshire has been a cricketer to watch out for. Her domestic performance which includes an unbeaten double century was awarded by selection for Kia Super League and The Hundred. She is also one of the 40 players, who recently bagged professional cricket contracts from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
We are talking about Marie Kelly. Female Cricket got in touch with this dashing bat and captain of Warwickshire to know more about her cricketing journey.
1. At what age did you start playing cricket?
I started playing at age 9 at Earlswood Cricket Club along with my twin sister Sian.
2. When did you break into the Warwickshire team?
Back then there weren’t many girls playing so I got into the Warwickshire U11s pretty early and maintained my spot each year from there!
3. How was the transition from being a player to the captain of the Warwickshire team?
I’ve always captained Warwickshire along with all the age groups so I guess it was quite a natural transition for me to be captain of the Women’s Team. I’ve always been quite loud on the pitch and quite knowledgeable of the game so captaincy has always been something that I’ve really enjoyed.
4. You have been a part of the Emerging Players Programme, Women’s Academy, and the Warwickshire Men’s Academy. How has that helped you as a player?
These programs were fantastic for me to be part of as I got so much extra volume and support which only benefitted me as a player and a person.
5. You were also a part of the England U19 Development Programme, during which you made your debut against Sri Lanka Women in 2013. Can you take us through that?
That was definitely a big learning curve for me to see what the next level up was, as it was the first time I’d played against a women’s international team. It was a really close game as well that went down to the wire and I was in at the end, so it was probably the most nervous I’d ever been playing cricket!
6. After Sri Lanka, you represented England U19 in a tour to South Africa. How was it playing against the Proteas?
The South African players were incredibly good and I think opened our eyes as players as to where we needed to improve. They were so strong at hitting down the ground straight and did that very early on in their innings – they definitely challenged us and made us come back a lot stronger team.
7. You have scored an unbeaten double century playing for Warwickshire U17 against Cheshire, which was followed by 110* in a T20 against Worcestershire. Tell us about those two innings.
Those 2 days were the best 2 days of my cricketing career! Before scoring the 201* I was having a pretty awful season and just couldn’t seem to score any runs, it just felt like something wasn’t quite clicking, even though I’d worked really hard over the winter and felt I had improved a lot. In that game everything just came together for me, every ball missed the fielder, shots went for 4, not 2 and it was all a bit of blur really.
I got my hundred at a reasonable rate and then just gave it my all from there. I remember being on 198 on the last ball of the game and remember feeling really excited instead of nervous and managed to scramble a 3! The next day we were playing a T20 against Worcester and when I started batting it was as if I had just carried on from where I left off the day before and the runs just started to flow again. Definitely peaked there!!
8. You were a part of the England U19 Pathway Programme from 2012 to 2016. Can you tell us more about it?
I loved my time on the England Pathway and learned a lot about myself as a person and as a cricketer. It was great being pushed by girls around me and being challenged by the high fitness targets and cricketing standards.
9. Your power-packed domestic performance was awarded a place in the Loughborough Lightning team for Kia Super League in 2017. Did you expect it?
I didn’t expect it as competition for places was high and I hadn’t been selected the year before. I was hugely grateful for the opportunity to be involved in that elite set up.
10. You have a degree in Sports Science as well. How has education helped you in your cricket?
I studied at Loughborough University which had a fantastic MCCU programme where you train pretty much as a professional player whilst studying for your degree. As a did sports science, a lot of it was relevant to me as a sportswoman so I could add little bits of information here and there into my game. Having a degree as well almost meant there was less pressure on my cricketing career as I had something to fall back on if I didn’t make it as a cricketer.
11. In 2019 you were picked up by Southern Vipers (Kia Super League). How has it been playing for different teams?
I absolutely loved being part of Southern Vipers. For a lot of my cricketing career i.e. the England U19 Pathway and Loughborough MCCU/ Lightning, all of that tended to be based at Loughborough University with similar coaches which were great, but being at Vipers was a completely different atmosphere with different players, different facilities and different coaches. Playing under Charlotte Edwards as a coach was amazing too as she has always been a childhood hero of mine.
12. In 2019, you were the leading run-scorer for Birmingham Bears as well as the top run-getter for the country, resulting in you being voted ‘players player’ at the end of the season. How did that feel?
That felt brilliant to be recognized by my teammates and friends. I play for the team so for them to agree and think that I’d done well was a real confidence booster for myself.
13. As a result of your consistency, you were selected to be part of the Birmingham Phoenix Hundred side. How were you preparing yourself for The Hundred?
I was incredibly excited to be part of The Hundred, which unfortunately didn’t take place this year due to COVID-19. I have been trying to take in the different rules and think about how my game will need to adapt to suit this new style of cricket.
14. Apart from playing, you seem to be interested in coaching, as you have qualified ECB level 2. Has the coaching knowledge helped you as a player?
Yes, I am now actually ECB Level 3 Qualified which has helped me hugely. I coach for Complete Cricket International Ltd and I think working with a lot of other players helps me hugely as I see how some of the improvements I make in them, how I could make them in myself too. I think you learn a lot about yourself as a player through how you coach.
😃 MEET THE COACHES MONDAY 😃
Next up in our meet the coaches theme is our Head of Girls’ Cricket Marie Kelly! 🏏
— Complete Cricket (@CompleteCricket) December 21, 2020
15. You have also been an Assistant Coach of the West Midlands Wildcats Regional Development Programme. How was that experience?
I really enjoy coaching at this level as I feel this is where I can have the most impact on players as I have been in their shoes, made mistakes, succeeded, and know-how to get them to the next level. It’s exciting to see the talent coming through, and for even that program to be in place as that didn’t exist when I was their age.
16. Recently you along with 40 others received full-time domestic contracts. How will this help you in your cricket career?
Yes, I never thought I would receive a full-time cricket contract – I thought it was something that I would just miss out on because of my age but I’m so glad to have received one. It has already been phenomenal, and I feel like I have learned so much already just from being able to spend more time on areas I want to improve and being able to dedicate yourself to cricket fully, rather than working a full-time job and then trying to play cricket to a high level on the side. I think this will help me long term as it will accelerate my learning and mean that hopefully I will improve quicker and achieve better outcomes quicker!
To read more such interesting stories, visit here.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.