England cricketer Anya Shrubsole on karaoke, chimps & playlists

Anya Shrubsole England Cricket

I met with the England and Somerset Women cricketer at the Sky Sports studios to ask Anya Shrubsole about her cricketing life.

Media attention for the men can be too intrusive, the women’s game gets too little, do you think there’s a happy medium?

The media coverage we get these days is brilliant, every ball of the Ashes is going to be shown on Sky, which hasn’t happened before.

There’s three of us at Sky Studios today doing various media things so I think the coverage we’re getting is absolutely brilliant and hopefully that will only continue.

Can you see a day when the media becomes as intrusive for the women as it can be for the men’s team?
I don’t think anyone would look forward to that. If the only coverage we get is for our cricket and our performances on the field, long may that continue.

Is it still the holy grail to get on the back page of the newspapers or is that not so important any more?
I think getting recognition for what you do is important but the main thing about being in the newspapers is, hopefully, young girls, or anyone, are able to see it as successful.

Hopefully then they take up the sport because they’re going to be the England players in the future, which for us is the main reason for wanting the coverage. It’s not so much about getting recognition for ourselves.

Would you agree that social media has been huge for women’s sport?
Yeah, it’s been brilliant for us to be able to let people get to know us aside from the cricket a little bit more.

That’s a really important part of gaining that support because if the public know we’re good people who are good at what we do and enjoy what we’re doing, hopefully that will help increase the coverage.

You did a degree in psychology. Do you use Dr Steve Peters’ The Chimp Paradox theory, which was so lauded by many members of Team GB at London 2012?
I have read the book. I think it’s one of those things you need to read two or three times to get the idea.

I wouldn’t say it was massive for me but there’s definitely parts of that that I definitely recognise and see how it’s come about.

Female cricketers have a huge training advantage in that you can practise against men’s teams; against faster bowlers than you’ll face in the women’s game…
Yeah, definitely. Most of us grew up playing men’s cricket and we’re playing some warm up games at the moment and they’re all against boys teams so it’s always good to practise above maybe what you’re going to face.

When it comes down to playing we know we’re capable of playing against boys who bowl it a bit faster and hit it a bit harder so it definitely has massive benefits.

There have been some fantastic performances by England sportswomen recently. Does the Ashes squad feel you could be part of a big year for women’s sport?
Definitely. It’s been coming for a while since London 2012. There’s been a real feel-good factor about women’s sport and that’s continued after the rugby girls won the World Cup, and the football girls doing well in their World Cup – hopefully we can continue that this summer.

Does this add pressure or just serve to inspire you more?
It inspires us. We’re supporters for any England team, any cricket team and it’s the same for any other sport.

Lots of our girls watched the women’s World Cup in particular. I think what they’ve done is really inspirational so hopefully we can continue that feel-good factor.

Dishing the dirt: Anya on her England team-mates

Who’s the best dancer?
I can’t say it too loudly because she’s right here but probably Sarah Taylor

Worst dancer?
Charlotte Edwards without a doubt.
SL: “That’s the third vote we’ve had for Charlotte.”
Well, she’s really bad.

Who is the biggest practical joker?
Either Heather Knight or Sarah Taylor, probably.

Who makes the most mess in the changing room?
I’m not sure. I keep saying Sarah but she’s quite messy. She’s got a lot of stuff to be fair to her. She’s the wicketkeeper so she’s got all her batting kit and all her wicketkeeping kit. Charlotte Edwards is quite messy as well to be fair. I’m picking on the same people here.

Who’s the best at Karaoke and what’s their preferred song?
Charlotte Edwards definitely gives it a go, whether she’s the best or not… she’s definitely the most willing. Her preferred song is Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler.

Who’s the biggest social media Queen?
Danielle Wyatt.

What tunes get played in the dressing room or in the car on the way to matches?
It changes. We have a different playlist every time. This year’s is shaping up quite good but it’s mainly modern stuff, whatever is in the charts at the time really. I think Kate Crosse is in charge of the playlist this year so she obviously fancies herself a bit.

Is there anyone in your team who’s always late for everything?
We’re really on time as a team, actually. If we’re given a time we’re normally all 15 minutes early. There’s no chance anyone’s late.

Who’s the keenest and always arrives early?
Everyone. Everyone always arrives early. It’s because we have a rule that if you’re late, the bus leaves without you so no one’s late. Ever. It’s never happened yet I don’t think. We have some people who refuse to be 15 minutes early , they’re like, ‘This is ridiculous, I’m turning up on time’, but now everyone’s there so much on time so that even if you’re five minutes early you feel like you’re late. It’s good timekeeping, I think.

Anya social
Anya on Twitter

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Author: Jo Gunston

Roving blogging superfan shares behind the scenes stories of her sports life and the best of those from like-minded souls.

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