Ireland's newest dual international Elena Tice
After catching up with Elena Tice recently, I thought with the week that's in it, you should read her little interview.
The superstar is going from strength to strength, and just days ago received her first senior international cap for Hockey.
Taking some time out from Cricket and missing the World Cup qualifiers in Thailand, Elena has had to make some mature decisions but it seems they're paying off.
Where did you start playing cricket and why?
I started in Vienna of all places. My Dad is English and is a keen cricketer, and so when we were living there he got us into what must have been the only cricket club in Vienna.
What school do you attend? And, did you have to choose between Hockey and Cricket?
I go to St Gerard's school in county Wicklow. There have been times that I have had to choose unfortunately but not that frequently. When I was 16 and we were preparing for the World Cup in Bangladesh had to stop playing hockey for the best part of that season.
Unfortunately this year I have had to take a step back from cricket due to being in my final year of school.
When did your first international cap come about for Cricket?
It was on the 31st of August 2011 against Holland, in Holland. We were playing in the Europeans and I was 13 years old. A very special day.
And your first trip away with Ireland?
My first minor trip away was to a county championship weekend in England. However, my first real trip was to Bangladesh in November 2011 for 3 weeks for the World Cup qualifiers.
Who has been the toughest opponent so far in your career?
It would have to be Australia this summer. An incredible side that went on to win the Ashes and are the world champions. Definitely the best batting line up I have come up against and it was a serious challenge to bowl at.
It was a great experience, especially to have them at our home ground with friends and family around. We play so many of our games away so whenever we have home games it is always special for us. Australia were definitely the best side I have played against.
Bowling at the top and middle order was a real challenge but I think we all took a lot away from the games. I think we all relished the opportunity, you always want an opportunity to play against the best and try and shake them a bit.
What is the most memorable moment in your Cricketing career?
It would have to be when we beat Pakistan in Qatar in January 2014. It was a huge win for us and was incredible to be a part of.
Who is your favourite cricket male?
For me it would have to be AB De Villiers. A great leader, Phenomenal Batsman and fantastic fielder. Extremely entertaining to watch!
Who is your favourite cricket female?
That's easy, Meg Lanning. Best player I have ever played against without a doubt. Also a great captain and a consistent performer.
What do you enjoy most about bowling leg spin?
I think it is the attacking element of it. You can't be defensive very often as a leg spinner, most of the time your job is to create chances and hopefully break up partnerships at the right time. I enjoy the tactical element to it especially on big turning pitches.
How do you cope with match day nerves?
I definitely get butterflies before pressure games but generally as soon as I step into the pitch they all go, well at least that is the case for bowling. However, I'm still trying to master my nerves when it comes to batting.
What is your pre match routine like?
Get up, big breakfast, on the bus I stick the ear phones in and when we arrive at the ground I set all my stuff up and go have a look at the track. Then just all the normal things, team warm up, I always enjoy a game of touch rugby or football in the warm up! Then bowl a few overs and get a few throws. Pretty straightforward. I'm not a very superstitious person so I'm ok with changes in the routine.
What do you like to do in your free time away from Cricket?
Usually any time away from cricket is spent playing hockey but apart from that I enjoy music and being around friends and family. Always try to get to Connemara for some surfing and fishing whenever I get the chance!
Describe an embarrassing athletic moment?
I could name a few. But it would have to be in La Manga when we were playing an English county side. I was fielding at deep cover and Shauna Kavanagh was at extra cover. I fielded the ball and threw it in. Unfortunately I failed to throw it in the right direction and ended up hitting Shauna straight in the back. She wasn't facing me and I also failed to inform her that she was in danger. She was man down for a while.
What other sport would you like to compete in if you were not playing Cricket?
For me Hockey is my other big passion. A very different game to cricket but one a lot of the girls would play in the winter months. However, if it wasn't either of those, I think it would have to be 7's Rugby. Always wanted to give it a go but never really had the chance.
Being a dual International athlete comes with some challenges, how do you juggle both Hockey and Cricket?
It can definitely be a big balancing act at times and it's not a walk in the park. There are times where one has to give but unfortunately nowadays those times are more frequent. I think that over the next couple of years it may become increasingly difficult as cricket is very much all year round if there are winter tours and hockey can often cut into the summer months. But I'm very grateful for the the opportunities I have been given to play both.
You have decided to take this winter off Cricket, a huge decision not made easily - what are your plans?
Yeah probably one of the toughest decisions I've had to make. It is the first time since I came onto the squad that I have had to pull out of a big tour/tours. Unfortunately with the amount of travelling involved with cricket this winter it would be hugely detrimental to my leaving cert and I don't think I could risk it. I am playing hockey though which I am really enjoying and its a good way to get away from the books.
I'm not really sure what's next. A lot of decisions to be made in the next year regarding universities and all that. Keeping my options open by applying to some universities in the UK as well as ones in Ireland.
Time away from cricket, allows me not only to focus on my school work but also gives me the chance to put time into hockey and develop as a player. But for now I'm just enjoying my final year of school and at this point it's quite hard to see past the leaving cert.