Middlesex’s one-day skipper Naomi Dattani has been named in the Surrey Stars squad for the second edition of the Kia Super League (KSL). I chatted with Naomi at Lord’s to find out more about the Surrey Stars, her cricketing aims and the KSL.
Last year you were an injury replacement for the Surrey Stars – how did this come about?
I think it was on the Tuesday, I really wanted to be involved in the Super League. I was asking around if I could be a net bowler or something like that. Then the Surrey girls played a game on that Tuesday, Kirstie White injured herself, and I got a call on the Thursday saying come to training. So I went and they confirmed Kirstie would miss the tournament and then I signed on the dotted line on Saturday. It was an interesting week that turned around really quickly and I was really excited to be a part of it and have that opportunity.
This year it’s been different, you’ve been named in the original squad – how did it feel being in it from the beginning? How beneficial do you think that will be for you in the competition?
It’s exciting to know that whatever they saw last year I made a good enough impact and to be named from the start is great. I get to be a part of it and don’t miss anything. I’m really looking forward to being involved from day one and gelling with the team and seeing how the things I missed last year all go.
The Stars have two international quicks in Marizanne Kapp and Rene Farrell; how much did you learn from them last year?
I had a few conversations with Rene Farrell and it was her knowledge and insights into the way she goes about her bowling – it was just incredible. She knows when she wants to bowl her slower ball, when to change the field. It’s little things like that – she’s on it before the batsman can even guess what she’s going to bowl. Just talking to her about all those things- when and how to do it. Kappy was quite quiet but she’s so much quicker and just runs in – smiles off the field it but a demon when she bowls. So she was really good to watch as well.
Last year you were one of four Middlesex players with Sophia Dunkley, Alex Hartley and Beth Morgan – how much did that help joining the Stars?
It probably made it a really easy transition. Just having them there; familiar faces although you tend to know most of the girls from county cricket. But they know what I do and know what they do, it just made the transition really easy. Then I was able to gel with the team that much quicker and bounce off the girls and have a bit of a laugh with them in between training sessions.
Who are you most looking forward to playing with?
They all individually have their different roles but in terms of the whole team I really enjoyed working with Rene Farrell. Off the pitch she is really funny and she’s the one who brings the whole team together and made our team song and things like that. She’s great fun to be around.
What are your aims for this year’s KSL both personally and as a team?
Last year I was fortunate to play a few games. I just want to make an impact and hopefully if I get the opportunity again to play and wherever I bat I’d just like to make an impact – score those crucial runs. It doesn’t matter how many, if I come in at the end just making sure I score as many as I can quickly. If I get the chance to bowl then I’d like to take wickets or at least restrict runs. Wherever I can make a change.
You’ve been in Australia for first two editions of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL); how do you think the KSL compares?
I actually think the KSL is a bit more competitive. It’s a tough one because I got to experience the KSL first hand, and I was only a viewer of the WBBL. I think the KSL brings more competition in terms of more internationals in one team so the games seem bigger and better and there were higher scores.
You’re nearing the end of your two-year plan to be part of the England academies, if you have a successful KSL do you think you’ll continue your pursuit of higher honours?
Yeah I think so. As this season’s gone on I’ve tried to ease off thinking about that plan because things change. The way you play changes and I think at the moment all I want to do is have fun with it. If it happens, it happens and obviously I’ll take the opportunity straight away. At the moment I’m trying to have fun and if the Super League goes well, which is crucial, then anything can happen but at the moment I’m just going to enjoy playing in the KSL and see how things go.
Surrey Stars begin their season at The Oval on Sunday 13th August against Yorkshire Diamonds.