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Thompson any captain’s delight

Published: Monday, January 28, 2002, 18:23 [IST]
 
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Arran Thompson, fondly known as "Azza", is any captain’s delight. This, 20-year old lass from Lancashire did the English cause a world of good when she in the company of Caroline Atkins rewrote the record books with a 200-run opening partnership against India in the only Test match played at Lucknow; in the recently conclude English tour of India.

This being a major achievement – considering that the feat was achieved on foreign soil, nobody would have begrudged her if she were to be on cloud nine. However, being the dedicated cricketer that she is, her feet are firmly on the ground.

She has absorbed the adulation and accolades that come with such a feat with a great deal of maturity. When asked of how it felt to be associated with the record books, she quipped it feels good but we are basically keeping it a low-key affair.

We took it 50 runs at a time. We started afresh after every 50 and when we actually got there it really didn’t strike us that it was that big. However, she says back home, it has made big news. The press in Lancashire has splashed a few headlines; England and Wales Cricket Board have gone big on it too.

Having started the game at a tender age of 11 Thompson made her debut at a ripe age of 18 against the visiting South Africans. She says it was a special tour for her as she was in her 12th (‘A’ Levels) and had to do a lot of shuttling between cricket and her studies. Her 33 in the third One-day International was dear to her, she reckons.

A keen and committed cricketer, Thompson intends to don her country colours for as long as she is picked to represent her nation. A swift and nimble footed cricketer, Thompson is a live wire on the field. Fielding is her pet department and she loves to be out there fielding, as all 11 are out there egging each other along.

Arran practices seven days a weak - with a few days dedicated to physical training, a few for cricketing skills and few to harness her mental skills. The proportion of the three, however, varies depending on the climatic conditions. If it happens to be winter it is more of indoor stuff and vice versa.

With cricket consuming most of her time, Thompson finds it hard to slot time for other activities. However, she does like to watch football and tennis whenever she can squeeze in time - David Beckham and Aggasi topping her list.

Thompson, currently a student at Loughborough, basically wasn’t aware that women played cricket because of the lack of publicity that women cricketers received at that time. However things have changed now with the women’s board having merged with their male counterparts. She is of the opinion that the number of girls that have taken to cricket has doubled since the merger and things are looking bright for the future of women’s cricket.

She has no doubt on her mind regarding the monetary gains that the women cricketers are reaping due to the emergence of a single board, which she feels will hold women’s cricket in good stead. However, she feels women have a along way to go when compared to the men in terms of publicity and the intensity of the game. What little coverage that they receive is not out in the mainstream papers like the ‘Mirror’ and the rest. " We do receive publicity but more often in the broad sheets," she says.

Although a tour to the sub-continent is considered tough, things have been fine thus far she says. "The weather has held good thus far with Chennai being slightly warmer, otherwise it has been pretty friendly weather," she quipped. With regards to food, it has been manageable she feels with most of them having a liking for Indian food. "But at times people say the food’s mild but then later it blows your head off," she says with burst of laughter.

A character full of life, both on and off the field, England will be looking forward to all of Thompson in the next few years to take it up the ladder of prosperity.

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