Cricket

Deandra Dottin:‘I’ll stick with being World Boss; let Gayle be Universe Boss’

Lady Viv! West Indies coach Courtney Walsh says Dottin reminds him of Viv Richards when it comes to never-say-die attitude and self-belief.

Lady Viv! West Indies coach Courtney Walsh says Dottin reminds him of Viv Richards when it comes to never-say-die attitude and self-belief. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Deandra Dottin calls herself World Boss. No prizes for guessing who inspired the nickname. She often lives up to it. Take for instance the way she performed in the final of the Women’s T20 Challenge at Pune last weekend. After scoring a 44-ball 62 (one four, four sixes), she took two wickets with her seam bowling to guide Supernovas to a four-run win over Velocity.

She had arrived in India a few days after cracking a 53-ball 111 (eight fours, nine sixes) for Barmy Army against Spirit at Dubai in the Fairbreak Invitational tournament. Few women can hit a cricket ball as hard as Dottin. Her record for the fastest hundred in women’s Twenty20 Internationals — off 38 balls — is still intact. It was also the first hundred in women’s T20Is. A little over 12 years have passed since she achieved the feat, after walking out to bat in the 10th over, with the West Indies on 52 for four, against South Africa in the opening match of the 2010 World T20 at Basseterre.

Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Dottin in Pune:

There has been a lot of talk of a full-fledged women’s IPL and that it could be held as early as next year.

Trust me, India is ready for a women’s IPL. This is the fourth edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge and you could see a lot of improvement. I found this edition more competitive than the last one [in Sharjah]. We have seen more players coming up with good performances. It was good to see more runs and boundaries being scored this year and to see a score like 180 becoming a competitive one. The T20 Challenge has been an important tournament in women’s cricket, especially for players who don’t get the opportunity to play for their countries.

A turnaround: Dottin feels that the women’s game has changed drastically for the better.

A turnaround: Dottin feels that the women’s game has changed drastically for the better. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Whenever the Women’s IPL is discussed, the topic of India’s bench strength comes up.

I believe India has the bench strength. Look at KP [Kiran Prabhu Navgire]. I was watching her for the first time [in Velocity’s match against Trailblazers], though I had heard of her. I was very impressed with the way she showed her skills. She played to her strengths. There [enough] talent on the bench in India to start a women’s IPL.

To go back to Kiran’s batting and that maiden knock of 69 off 34 balls. What were your thoughts while watching it?

She kind of reminded me of myself. The best thing about her was that she didn’t overplay her part. I congratulated her when I saw her on the morning after that innings.

She hit the first ball she faced, outside domestic cricket, for a six.

That was special. You wouldn’t find too many female cricketers getting off the mark with a six.

How much has women’s cricket changed since you made your debut way back in 2008?

When I began playing cricket, there was virtually no money. The women’s game has changed drastically for the better. I hope it continues on that path. Cricket has improved and the franchises have brought more money. I feel every country should have franchise cricket.

Are you surprised that your record for the fastest hundred still remains?

Not much, actually. I feel only two women can break that record: Sophie Devine or KP.

We have seen here what KP could do. She was even threatening to break the world record for the fastest fifty.

How do you look back at that record-breaking hundred from 2010?

I was determined. At the back of my mind, I thought this was our first game in the tournament and we needed to start off well. And here comes the hundred off 38 balls!

Packing a punch: Few women can hit a cricket ball as hard as Dottin.

Packing a punch: Few women can hit a cricket ball as hard as Dottin. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

How much of an impact has your background in athletics had on your cricket?

Quite big. I was a field athlete. Shot put and discus throw were my main events. That background helped me, especially in natural strength and physique, when I started cricket. I had a love of sport, but in my younger days, athletics was my dream, not cricket. I was doing both but unfortunately I had to choose one because both were clashing. And I chose cricket.

During the recent World Cup in New Zealand, West Indies coach Courtney Walsh said you reminded him of a certain Viv Richards when it came to the never-say-die attitude and self-belief.

That statement meant a lot to me, because Richards is one of my favourite cricketers; Chris Gayle is the other. I still watch a lot of videos of Richards. Like them, I do love a challenge.

How important was winning the Women’s World T20 in 2016, that too after beating the all-conquering Australia in the final?

It was a big milestone for us. We were all on the same page. We wanted to show the world what we were capable of. And it was good to see someone other than Australia winning the World Cup.

Who are the Indian women batters you enjoy watching?

I enjoy watching Mithali Raj bat; she is very composed. I love to see Smriti Mandhana bat, but not against me!

And among men, apart from Gayle and Richards, that is?

Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis and Sanju Samson.

Best bowlers you have faced in international cricket?

Jhulan Goswami, who bowls with a nagging and annoying length, and Ellyse Perry.

When will you promote yourself from World Boss to Universe Boss?

I will stick with being World Boss. Let Gayle be the Universe Boss.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2022 11:27:35 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/ill-stick-with-being-world-boss-let-gayle-be-universe-boss/article65493767.ece