She is one of the best new-ball bowlers of the West Indies’ women’ cricket team. Having been around for more than 13 years at the international level, she is an integral part of the side. She was a member of the 2016 T20 World Cup-winning squad and 2013 World Cup runner-up team.
In an exclusive chat with Female Cricket, the West Indian speedster Shakera Selman talks about her love for cricket, her preparations for the upcoming World Cup, and more.
Tell us about your childhood and love for cricket.
When I was a kid, I was not completely sure that I wanted to become a professional cricketer. I think I wanted to be a teacher. However, the place where I live had many boys in the neighborhood. I grew up playing cricket with them. Also, my uncle was a cricketer and I watched him play. Since cricket was the sport that I played and watched growing up, I started developing a liking for it.
You made your international debut in 2008 at 19 years of age. Were you nervous to bowl the first ball in international cricket?
It was a long time back when I made my debut. I am not quite sure whether I was nervous, but yes given the fact that to date I sometimes feel the nerves to bowl the first ball, I think I would have been nervous on my debut.
With so much international cricket behind you, which has been your favorite moment?
Winning the 2016 T20 World Cup will surely be one of my favorite moments in my career. Apart from that, September 17, 2014, the day when I picked up my maiden five-wicket haul in an ODI. It came against a strong New Zealand side. Prior to that series, I was struggling a bit. But that five-wicket haul made me feel better and meant a lot to me.
Apart from playing for the West Indies, you have been a part of the Women’s T20 Challenge in India. How was the experience of playing a global T20 league?
It was an amazing experience to play the Women’s T20 Challenge. Rubbing shoulders with some of the best in the business feels good. You get to learn a lot from them. I played under India’s T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur. It was a fantastic experience. I feel grateful for the opportunity that I got to play in this tournament and I am looking forward to playing in this competition in the future as well.
This year, we have the ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand in March-April. Before that you have the South Africa series. How do you think the South Africa series will help in the World Cup preparations?
The South Africa series in which we play four ODIs will definitely help us to prepare well for the World Cup. South Africa is a higher-ranked side than us, so it will be a challenge for us to take them on. This may be a bit of wishful thinking but yes before the 2016 T20 World Cup, which we won, we played a series against South Africa, and this time around, just before the 50-over World Cup, we are again playing against the Proteas. Let us hope that we are able to get the same result in 2022 as we did in 2016.
How are you personally preparing for the upcoming World Cup?
I have been working a lot on my fitness for the last couple of months. Every time I step out on the field for the West Indies, I want to make sure that I am able to get through my 10 overs with ease. I have been working with our bowling coach closely. I have also been working on my batting, not going to say too much about that (smiles).
West Indies was the runner-up in the 2013 World Cup and winner in the 2016 World T20. How is the mood in the West Indian camp?
The mood is nice and positive. In the recent past, we have done well in the 50-over format. After a torrid time during the 2017 World Cup in England, we have fought hard and come out well. Our aim is to compete and put up a strong show every time we hit the field.
We also have the Commonwealth Games this year. Are you excited for it?
Yes, I am very excited and eagerly looking forward to the Commonwealth Games. We will not be playing as the West Indies, but we will be playing as team Barbados. There is a lot of local talent in Barbados and I am sure that some of the young girls will be able to find a place in the team for the Commonwealth Games. This is great for Caribbean cricket.
Being a fast bowler it is not easy to have a long international career. You have already completed 13 years. What is the secret to your longevity?
Yes, 13 years is a long time. The fact that maybe I am not as fast as the other bowlers has kept me going for so long (smiles). In my career so far, I have missed many matches due to injury. But every time I was down with an injury, the passion for cricket made me work hard and come out stronger. At present, I am probably the fittest that I have been so far which I am sure will pull me through for a few more years.
How has Courtney Walsh as a coach helped the West Indian women’s cricket?
It has been an honour and privilege to learn from one of the best fast bowlers of all time. His experiences have been very helpful. He has gone through similar situations in his career that we are going through now and taking insights from him has been incredible. Also, with him he has brought a good team of coaches and support staff which has helped the West Indian women’s cricket a lot.
There is a lot of young talent in the West Indies. What do you think about this?
Certainly, we have some exciting young talent in the Caribbean. There are a few fast bowlers like Jannillea Glasgow and Cherry Ann Fraser, who are coming through the ranks. We also have a good bunch of spinners. Overall, it looks great.
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.