Samantha Ramaautar was born and brought up in Guyana and her first stint with cricket when she was just 8 years old, playing backyard cricket with her family members, but surprisingly she did not take up formal cricket until 2011. Although, she did try her hands at Softball when she moved to the USA to pursue her high school education. Cricket wasn’t popular in the USA back then, so she settled for Softball. Years later, she moved to New York and in 2011, she found her first love again – Cricket. She hasn’t looked back since then.
In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Team Female Cricket, Samantha speaks about how her career shaped, the story behind her success, and how excited she is representing the USA National Cricket team at Women’s T20 Word Cup Global Qualifiers in Scotland.
1. You were born in Guyana, a cricket-crazy island in the Caribbean?
Did you watch cricket in Guyana back then? Yes, I grew up watching Shivnarine Chanderpaul play.
2. What was your first impression of this sport like? At what age did you first play cricket?
I was about 8 years old when I started playing backyard cricket with my family. I enjoyed batting when I made runs and bowling when I got wickets. I didn’t enjoy fielding as much because they hit the ball too hard.
3. Guyana has nurtured a lot of female cricketers. Guyana-born Shermaine Campbell, Subrina Munroe, Tremayne Smartt have all gone ahead and represented West Indies’ national cricket team. Did you watch these players growing up?
I have been watching them as they played for Guyana and the West Indies. I’ve also played alongside them in local tournaments in recent times.
4. How popular was softball in Guyana? How did that happen to you?
Softball isn’t played in Guyana. When I moved to the US at age 13, there was no cricket in school so I took up the sport I thought was closest to cricket.
5. How and when did you shift to cricket from softball? How easy/difficult was this transition?
The transition is still ongoing. I tend to hit the ball as I did in softball so it’s quite easy. Fielding is the same and the transition from pitching to bowling has not been too hard actually. I played softball up to high school and then lost interest. Years later my friend wanted to go try cricket in New York so I joined her and the rest was history.
6. What were your struggles in the young days when you took up cricket? How did you overcome them?
I played backyard cricket as a kid with the tennis ball so there was no pressure. I took up cricket seriously as an adult and the main challenge has been accessing cricket facilities.
7. Where did your formal/professional cricket training begin?
It started in New York.
8. What were the key takeaways/learnings from the 2 international games you played against Canada in May this year?
We knew going into the tournament that they (Canada) were a weaker team on paper but we didn’t take them for granted and instead, focused on one game at a time. The other is that in a T20 game, the game can change so quickly. It’s important to win every stage of the game whether it’s in the power play, the middle overs, or in the end.
9. There are good and bad days both on the field. Tell us one such good and bad experience you have had with this sport? Which has been your most favorite cricket memory so far?
My favorite cricket memory is my friend Sara’s experience. Two years ago she didn’t make the original squad for the qualifier we played in Scotland but then got added to the squad as a replacement player. At this year’s global T20 Qualifier, she’s now picking her kookaburra for the match because she’s our opening bowler. A bad experience is my spinning finger getting injured on this tour a day before our opening game. I tried hard to get the swelling down for the game but couldn’t. I started my spell with two wides and Scotland capitalized on my misfortune.
10. Apart from cricket (during the off-seasons especially) is there anything else that you do?
I love sports in general, traveling and trying different cuisines.
11. Where has USA Women’s cricket reached now from the time you started playing?
We started in 2010, went to Bangladesh for the global qualifier in 2011 and then the Americas region wasn’t allowed to participate in ICC pathway tournaments from 2013 to 2017 so we lost four years of development. Since we’ve resumed international cricket we’ve been making small strides and now with coach Julia Price leafing our team, we’re starting to become a more professional-looking unit.
12. Who has been your greatest support over the years?
Definitely my family.
13. On a personal level, which is one area where you feel you still need to improve?
Working consistently on my fitness.
14. USA will be playing global qualifiers after 8 years. How excited is the team? How’s the training going and the team atmosphere like?
It’s a bit surreal for us. It’s been so long and our memories of Bangladesh are still so fresh. We want to have a better showing and execute the things we’ve learned from Julia. Almost half the team has been together since Bangladesh in 2011 so we have a pretty tight-knit unit.
15. We at Female Cricket try our best to promote and encourage women’s cricket. Any suggestions for us?
Keep sharing good stories of players at all levels. Every player has a unique story behind her so it’s good to know the stories.
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