New Zealand’s bowler Sian Ruck carries more than just the burden of leading the pace attack of a team that is not among the list of favourites to win the January 31 to February 17 ICC Women’s World Cup in India. She also carries a bagful of letters back home as part of her duties as a postwoman.
“Cricket is played for only six months in New Zealand and we get paid only when we play for the country. To survive, we do odd jobs for the rest of the year. I deliver mail for six hours in the morning before heading home for lunch and then spending the rest of the day at the training ground,” the 29-year-old told
MiD DAY at the MCA’s Bandra-Kurla Complex ground, where the Kiwi side beat England by 13 runs in a warm-up match.
Ruck has not enjoyed much support from her parents in her pursuit of the game. “I’ve been playing cricket since I was seven, but my parents knew nothing of it. They didn’t know much about the game itself. They got to know of my cricketing interest only when I was 19. Even now, my parents want me to get married and have kids rather than play cricket,” said Ruck who made her NZ debut in July 2009.
The inequality that exists when compared to the men’s version, also hurts Ruck. “Unfortunately, women’s cricket has to deal with step-motherly treatment everywhere in the world while our male counterparts earn in millions,” she rued.
The left-arm pacer who practises at Cricket Wellington under former New Zealand medium-pacer Gavin Larsen, who, interestingly was nicknamed ‘The postman’ in his playing days since he always delivered on the field (see box). Ruck now hopes to deliver the goods on the field just like her coach.
“Australia, England, India and West Indies are certain to make the Super Six stage, and if we take one match at a time, I am confident that we are capable of joining them there. I want to get loads of wickets for my country at this World Cup. I hope I can emulate my coach,” said Ruck, who has scalped 11 wickets in the 18 ODIs she has played so far.
Apart from cricket, Ruck hopes to experience the three other C’s — crowd, cuisine and culture on her maiden trip to the country. “I hear the crowd is so well educated about cricket here and I hope to experience that during our matches. The cuisine here is amazing too; so is Indian culture. I hope to be a tourist for a day, if my schedule permits. I also want to roam around the crowded Mumbai streets,” said Ruck, who loves watching Aussie pacer Mitchell Johnson and India speedster Zaheer Khan bowl in the longer format of the game.
‘The postman’ who coached a postwoman
Gavin Larsen, who has coached Ruck, was nicknamed, ‘The postman’ as his teammates felt he always ‘delivered’ through his miserly bowling efforts in ODIs. Larsen played 121 ODIs and eight Tests for New Zealand between 1990 and 1999. He was more accomplished in the one-day format, having played three consecutive World Cups for the Kiwis. His economical rate was amazing at the 1999 World Cup in England, where he claimed six wickets at 3.46 runs per over.