Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Cricket Netherlands: Interviews with Helmien Rambaldo, Willemijn Vorderman-Jansen and Babette de Leede

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Photo Credit: Cricket Netherlands

”Cricket has brought me a lot, such as good planning and more self-confidence” — “Women and girls should make their voices heard” — “It is very special to train with your teammates for hours, day in and day out, for the same goal.”

”Cricket has brought me a lot, such as good planning and more self-confidence”

Helmien Rambaldo made 723 runs in 46 One Day Internationals and also 154 runs in ten T20Is. She is now a valued coach of several national youth teams.

– What has cricket brought you in terms of personal development?

A lot. I am who I am because of all the opportunities I’ve been given with cricket. Living and touring abroad, dealing with pressure, being the captain of the Dutch Efltal including speaking in front of groups, dealing with setbacks, and fighting for what you believe in. In youth, discipline and good planning were especially important to combine school with cricket. During busy times at school (e.g. test weeks) it was important to train and play. To do this sometimes I had to say no to other things. Consciously making these choices has taught me a lot. And in general “self-confidence.” Cricket has allowed me to express myself and has given me more confidence. Now as a coach I am developing in other areas, more reflective and longer term thinking: how do I get the best out of someone?

– Why do you think it is important to commit yourself to women’s cricket?

When I see what cricket has brought me, I wish that for everyone; to develop and express yourself. The more opportunities there are, the better, for players, but also for female coaches, umpires and board and committee members. Unfortunately, at the moment there are not yet the same options as for the men, so that is something to bet on. As a player and captain of the Dutch national team, I wanted to work for better opportunities for girls and women who want to play cricket. What this has taught me is to break things down into little bits and then take it a step further. Even now in my role as a coach, I think it is important to create opportunities for (more) female coaches.

– What tips do you give to others to stimulate women’s cricket?

Start simple, ask family and acquaintances of players and other women who already come to your association to think along. Link promotion to your existing activities. Conduct a girls/women clinic during the inning break of a men’s first team game. Instead of having a father/son competition at the end of the junior season, organize a mother/son or mother/daughter activity. Include goals in your plans for the club (for example, in 2025 we want at least 20 girls at the club, a female coach, a female umpire), put them on paper and discuss them with each other. Find people (not necessarily women) who are actively involved in this. Approach people personally to do this.

– Who do you want to highlight who you think has meant a lot to women’s cricket?

Esther Long. In the time that she played and worked in the Netherlands, she devoted herself enormously to girls’ and women’s cricket. And now at the ICC, she takes care of initiatives to stimulate women’s cricket and women within cricket in Europe.

– How do you see the recent and current development of international women’s cricket?

It is great to see how more and more attention is being paid to women’s cricket and how high the level is. The highlight for me was the final of the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020, where more than 80,000 spectators were there. Also the arrival of the Women’s Premier League; next to the Hundred and Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) it gives a lot of exposure to women’s cricket.

Willemijn Vorderman-Jansen, KNCB board member:

“Women and girls must make their voices heard”

– What has cricket brought you in terms of personal development, team building, dealing with wins and losses?
Cricket has brought me a lot! First comes a lot of fun, fun and sportsmanship with and with my fun and close-knit team at Groen-Geel! How we have been dealing with such a diverse group in terms of ages, preferences and cricket experience for years is, in my opinion, a good example of what it yields when you embrace differences in a group.
In terms of sport, I continue to like the fact that you can continue to develop as an individual in parts. I find my role in the board, which is still fairly new, instructive and challenging: I get to know the cricket world from a completely different side. Very interesting and fun so far!
Finally nice to mention that the bond with my father has become even better because of this shared passion: so we were together at Lord’s in 2009 – unforgettable! – and we talk a lot about cricket events and – developments: he follows everything closely; as well as administrative activities.

– Why do you think it is important to commit to this?
Because I was active in CTC de Flamingos – first in setting up the women’s branch, then as secretary – I already tried to contribute to the creation of a broader base of women’s cricket in the Netherlands. In addition to being a lot of fun, I thought it was also very important that a club like the Flamingos also wanted to play a role in this. As a result, I then qualified myself for the role of secretary in the current board, a question I did not want to say ‘no’ to, also because I myself think it is important that women’s cricketers are more involved in all kinds of bodies within the cricket world. to see.

– What tips do you give to others to stimulate and mobilize women’s cricket?

It struck me, at both the ALV and the regional meetings at the end of last year, that I saw relatively few women. It is important to make your voice heard in the places where decisions are made. I would urge the women and girls cricketers to do just that. It’s just less about women’s cricket when we’re not there, so it’s important to be there and represent the importance of women’s cricket more broadly.

– Who do you want to highlight who you think has meant a lot to women’s cricket?

I can think of quite a few. Ingrid van der Elst, Denise van Deventer-Hannema, Helmien Rambaldo and my own teammates Floor van den Assem and Tjitske Maathuis. Then I certainly didn’t have them all..! I choose Julia Corder: she recently started on the board of VCC: by way of encouragement, I would like to put her in the spotlight for this good step.

– How do you see the recent and current development of international women’s cricket?
As a huge positive: great that the Dutch ladies are playing ODIs again and how cool that the Dutch women’s team recently became T10 champion! I am very curious about the development of the team and also the individuals who play in it. I like to follow it all, including together with my fanatical father.

Babette de Leede (23), wicketkeeper/batter of the Dutch women’s team: “It is very special to train with your teammates for hours, day in and day out, for the same goal.”

– What has cricket brought you in terms of personal development, team building, dealing with wins and losses?

As cricket is a technical sport, it can sometimes be frustrating when things don’t work out. But that teaches you not to give up until something works, and that you are never done learning new things and improving yourself. Moreover, it is very special to train with your teammates for hours, day in and day out, for the same goal. Cricket is an individual team sport, so individual successes are certainly celebrated, but nothing beats walking off the pitch as a winning team (even if you didn’t perform as you wanted).

– Why do you think it is important to commit to this?

(Women’s) cricket in the Netherlands needs more attention. The numbers and thus the level in the Netherlands are declining. This is a great shame, because the level differences within teams become too great, causing people to lose fun in the game.

– What tips do you give to others to stimulate and mobilize women’s cricket?

Girls should come into contact with cricket at a young age, otherwise you will never be able to learn it properly again. It is therefore important that children in the Netherlands see how cricket works and how much fun it is, and that you can do it perfectly alongside football or hockey. And for girls also how far you can get with it: making it to the Dutch women’s team (and the youth teams) is much easier than with hockey, for example, and we go on very nice tours. Moreover, at the age of 23 I already play with the world’s top players who have cricket as a job (during FairBreak).

– Who do you want to highlight who you think has meant a lot to women’s cricket?

FairBreak’s founder, Shaun Martyn, has been very successful in promoting women’s cricket and especially players from small cricketing nations. For me it offers the chance to compete with the world top and to earn money, so that I can postpone an office job a bit and continue playing cricket for the Netherlands. Hopefully we will soon see more Dutch girls involved in FairBreak. The KNCB is also taking women’s cricket more and more seriously, and with the Dutch team we are getting better and we play more international matches every year.

– How do you see the recent and current development of international women’s cricket?

Internationally, women’s cricket is advancing fast: not only the level, but also the publicity, the chance to make a living from cricket, and the number of women’s matches each year.

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