Didn’t sleep well ahead of The Hundred debut, says Jemimah Rodrigues
Jemimah Rodrigues is aware of the attention she gets as an explosive opener for Northern Superchargers. She is also conscious of the responsibility and criticism that comes with it. A Mumbai native and the darling of Yorkshire, she will turn 21 next month and has already lit up the newest format of the game by becoming the highest run-scorer (248) of the inaugural season of The Hundred.
Rodrigues’ England story began on June 3 when she landed in the United Kingdom with the Indian team who faced the hosts in the historic multi-format series. She missed out on a debut cap in the one-off Test match played in Bristol from June 16. She was called up to play in the last two ODIs but couldn’t make the most of her opportunity, scoring only 12 runs from the two matches. She was therefore under some pressure coming into the first match of The Hundred.
“Honestly, I was not coming off from a very good series,” said Rodrigues.
“I had been sitting out, and also when I got the opportunity, I didn’t make most of it against England. So there was already a lot of pressure, and I knew that this match is important for me. The previous night, I didn’t get a really good sleep because I was kind of nervous about the game.”
Come match day, she had to step up for Superchargers against Welsh Fire as they found themselves reeling at 19 for four even before the power play was over. And step up she did. She batted with the aggression and poise to lead Superchargers’ first win and en route scored an unbeaten 92 – still the highest individual score of the competition to date. When asked about that clutch performance, she was quick to give credit to her batting partner Alice Davidson-Richards.
“I remember wickets were falling, but in the end, I was batting well. I just needed to hang in there and just play my natural game. And also my partner ADR (Davidson-Richards)… Her part was very crucial in that game because we had to play a big knock, and needed support from the other end.”
“That’s what she did, she took the back step. She can hit the ball too but sometimes it’s really nice to see (the support). That’s why you play cricket. Because it’s a team sport.”
The cricketing world saw the bonhomie between Rodrigues and her Superchargers team-mate Laura Wolvaardt when the pair showcased their musical talent on social media. On the ground, she is in awe of the South Africa international’s batting prowess.
“I think I kicked on well with Wolfy. She’s my really good friend now. Hopefully, I think, she believes that too,” Rodrigues laughs.
“I really love her batting. I told her I am so happy that you are on my team. I enjoy her cover drives. We had a partnership of 50 in one of the matches and she’s good at running between the wickets, too. So we keep making each other tired by taking those twos. But it’s really fun batting with her. So much to learn.”
She was all praise of the other Laura of the team, Australia batter Laura Kimmince.
“What I like about her is that she’s very level headed, she’s calm and she just knows what she’s doing,” said the 20 year old.
“She’s very chill. So even when it comes to batting, she’s like, ‘I’m just here to entertain and that’s my game, and I am going to stick to that’. That’s what I love about her.”
Against Trent Rockets, Kimmince had walking in at 69 for two on the 62nd ball and changed the tide of the game. She hit Sarah Glenn for five successive fours on her way to 31 off just 19 balls. Superchargers managed to post 149, which proved 27 too many for Rockets.
“It wasn’t a very easy wicket to bat on,” said Rodrigues about Kimmince’s role in that game, “but just coming in and just hitting with that strike rate… I think that was a very crucial knock that got us to such a good score.”
Rodrigues has played under coach Danielle Hazell when she played for Yorkshire Diamonds in the now-defunct Women’s Cricket Super League in 2019. Hazell has impressed the diminutive Indian with her cricketing brain and player management skills.
“What I like most about Dani is that she’s already played a lot of cricket and good cricket for England,” said the right-hand batter.
“That’s why she understands the game really well. She has a really good cricketing brain, and also she knows how to handle her players. She’s also a very nice person and loves to keep the team atmosphere good and positive. And her famous dialogue is ‘You, do you’.”
Superchargers head into their final league game with a must-win against Birmingham Phoenix. A win would ensure a top-three finish for them. But Rodrigues, as always, keeps it simple.
“We want to play some good cricket. Honestly, results are not in our hands. But as long as we play good cricket, I think the rest will follow,” she concluded.