“The more I played cricket, more I fell in love with it,” Interview with Hong Kong National Player Ruchitha Venkatesh

Interview with Hong Kong National Player Ruchitha Venkatesh

1. Tell us about your childhood memories, what age did you start playing cricket and how did you fell in love with the game?

I played some cricket for fun with friends when I was younger, as being Indian, my whole family is mad about cricket. However I only properly started playing when I joined the Hong Kong Cricket Club at around 13 years old.

2. Your family is from India. When did you all shift to Hong Kong? Did you ever watch/play cricket in India? 

I was born in India but shifted to Hong Kong immediately after and have grown up here my whole life. I have learned and played the majority of my cricket in Hong Kong only. The only time I’ve played in India was when our team had pre-tour training camps there. I would love to play there more.

3, Your father played a lot of league games in India. How did that impact your decision on choosing this sport?

My father was the one who encouraged me to take up the sport and has massively supported me ever since. I am very lucky to have both my parents’ full support and wouldn’t have come this far without them.

4. Do you have any siblings? If yes, were they equally interested in the sport?

No, I don’t have any other siblings.

5. Which other sport did you play while growing up? What made you stick to cricket?

I played several sports for fun when I was younger but it was never something I took seriously until I tried cricket. The more I played cricket, I absolutely fell in love with the game and wanted to commit more of my time to it.

6. You didn’t play serious cricket until you were 13 years. Why is that so? Ever felt that you started too late?

I don’t know why that is, I guess I came to know of the sport pretty late, which is why I started at that time

7. How did your professional cricket journey begin?

Hong Kong Women’s National Cricket Team

Since we are not paid, we are not actually professional cricketers. However how I got introduced into the national circuit was when I was playing one of my first league games, when the only shot I knew was how to swing the bat. Apparently, that worked because I hit a few boundaries and one of the selectors told me to try for the U19 squad. However, after the U19 period ended, I found myself only on the fringes of the national squad for many years, never quite managing to break into the team. I decided to switch to spin bowling a few years ago, as there weren’t many spinners. This proved successful as I managed to break into the team and have gradually established myself as a frontline spinner and middle-order bat in the past year.

8. In 2010, you got to play just one game in the ACC’s U-19 Women’s Championships in Singapore in October. How was the feeling like representing your national colors? 

I was quite surprised as I was very new to cricket then. I only played one game but found the whole experience quite new and exciting.

Also Read:  Female Cricket interviews Nadia Chowdhary - Jammu & Kashmir State Cricket Player

9. In 2012, you made it to the Hong Kong Women’s national U-19 team for the ACC U-19 Women’s Championships in Kuwait. Were you expecting a call?

Again I was still in the very early stages of learning the game but felt quite lucky to have these opportunities.

10. Later that year, you didn’t get a spot for the Asia Cup tournament in Guangzhou. Did that come as a surprise to you? 

Not at all, I was quite new and inexperienced. I still needed to improve a lot, both mentally and skill-wise to earn my place.

11. In January 2013, you made it to the Hong Kong Senior Women’s National squad that traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to play in the ACC Women’s Championships. Tell us more about this tournament? How did the team perform? How was your personal contribution to the side?

I was taken on this tournament as a developmental player, as our team does sometimes for less-experienced members to gain the experience of what it means to be a part of a national team. I didn’t play any games but loved being part of the squad and having the team perform well to qualify for the Asian Games.

12. What happened in the 2014 Asian Games? Why were you left out of the team?

Unfortunately few of us didn’t fulfill the qualification requirements which works for Olympic qualification criteria. 

13. Eight members of the Hong Kong Senior Women’s National squad were selected for a high-performance training camp at Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. How did this happen?

I can’t quite remember actually, just that there were several different training tours during this period and some of us were sent to Melbourne to train a few days with the Victoria state team.

Squad for Hong Kong Women's Cricket team announced
Hong Kong Women’s Team touring Mumbai

14. How was the experience playing against Victorian State Women’s squad in Melbourne? Talk about the learning you had there?

We didn’t actually play against them but trained with them for a few days. It was my first time seeing what cricket at an elite level looks like and was in awe of their fitness, dedication, and skill. It was at this time that my current captain Mariko, whom I admire very much, managed to get a contract with them as an associate rookie player. The fact that one of our own players could get a contract at a high level overseas made me also want to work towards one day doing the same thing. 

15. In 2015, you made your debut in EAT20. Where was it played? Elaborate.

I made my debut at 18, 4 years ago at the East Asia T20 Cup in Incheon South Korea. I was so happy to finally make my debut that ever since then; I have chosen 18 as my shirt number. In fact, in a month’s time, we will be participating in the same tournament in Incheon again. This tournament is held every two years and is between Hong Kong, Japan, China, and South Korea. 

16. You pursued the IB Diploma Programme at Discovery College. Tell us more about your academics / educational qualification?

Also Read:  Match 15: Spirit vs Falcons | Squads | Players to watch | Fantasy Playing XI | Live streaming

I did! I have also just recently completed my degree in Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Hong Kong a few months ago.

17. Tell us in detail about the upcoming Women’s League that starts 1st September onwards?

Our Women’s League is having a new, exciting format change, where it is a full-on T20 competition, with elimination rounds and finals. The Hong Kong Women’s team will also play in the age-group boys league. Unfortunately, I won’t get to play much of it this year, due to soon being based overseas for some time for work. 

Ruchitha Venkatesh receiving her national cap
Ruchitha Venkatesh receiving her national cap

18. How was the experience playing with the greats like Alex Blackwell, Sana Mir at FairBreak Global earlier this year?

Fairbreak was easily one of the best cricketing weeks of my life. Sana Mir and Alex Blackwell are not only two of the top players in women’s cricket whom I feel so honored to have played with, but are also humble, down to earth and overall great human beings. They took the effort to spend time with us, share their experiences and guide us in our game on and off the field. In fact spending time with all the amazing, passionate and fun-loving group of girls in Fairbreak 2.0 was very special and I learned something from every single one of them.

19. Currently 22, you have played a lot of cricket in Hong Kong and overseas. What has been your most favorite cricketing memory so far and what does your ultimate goal look like?

I have a few treasured cricketing moments from this summer. My favorite would have to be being involved with Fairbreak Global, spending time with the Fairbreak team and even getting a wicket off the first ball when opening the bowling against MCC. Another highlight would be getting to play premier league cricket in England with the Finchley Gunns while working here these few months, including playing alongside experienced players such as Beth Morgan and Cath Dalton and even getting the wicket of the wonderfully talented Kent opener and WCSL leading scorer Maxine Blythin. My ultimate goal is to progress as far as possible while playing my part in expanding women’s cricket and bringing joy to many more girls. A dream of anyone would surely be to play in a professional league like the Big Bash and/or the World Cup!

20. We at Female Cricket aim towards encouraging and promoting women’s cricket. What would be your suggestions for us?

 I love the way in which you are tirelessly promoting women’s cricket and even covering associate women’s cricket, which is often neglected. Keep doing what you are doing. I wish you all the best and thank you for your effort. 

If you enjoyed reading this, do check out all the interviews

Vishal Yadav, Founder & CEO at Female Cricket

On a mission to promote women’s cricket around the world! Follow our story:

Yourstory | Feminism in India | CricketGraph

Liked the story? Leave a comment here