Jake Perry chats to Priyanaz Chatterji
Scotland’s Women travel to Sri Lanka for the ICC Global Qualifier in buoyant mood. Qualification for the event crowned a memorable season for Steve Knox’s side, and after two warm-up games against Ireland in Dubai they will look to make the most of the opportunity to measure their skills against some of the finest players in the world.
For Priyanaz Chatterji the final weeks of preparation have been busier than ever. The Dundee-born seamer combines her Scotland duties with a full-time job at an energy consultancy in London, and as she prepares to meet up with her team-mates again her excitement at what lies ahead is clear.
“It’s probably not fully sunk in yet that I’m actually going, it’ll probably hit me on Sunday when I get on the plane!” she said. “I’m very excited, it’s an amazing opportunity and one that the girls have been working really hard for. There are some nerves there too of course, we’re going to be up against some pretty impressive opposition and we want to do ourselves justice.
“But personally it’s been really great to be involved with Scotland again and to see everyone on a regular basis. The team is definitely moving in the right direction, there’s a real togetherness about the squad and as last season went on we got more and more confident both individually and as a group.
“We had often relied very heavily on Kari [Carswell] in the past, and still do to some extent, but it was great to see other players stepping up and performing when it really mattered. That will stand us in good stead for Sri Lanka.”
Still only twenty-three, Chatterji was a regular wicket-taker for the Wildcats as they secured promotion to Division Two of the NatWest Twenty20 last season. It was a consistency of performance made all the more remarkable by a glimpse of her hectic weekly schedule.
“Monday-to-Friday I get up in the morning and go to the gym before work,” she said. “I aim for five times a week in an ideal world but depending on what else I have to do it might be closer to three or four. I work full-time but manage to train a couple of times a week after work, too, although being in London that can add an hour on just getting there.
“I’ve been travelling back to Scotland every other weekend for the last few months which is definitely challenging, especially when we have a double-header training session. Our starts on Saturdays are usually 9am and the same on Sundays and I don’t tend to get back home until about eleven or twelve at night.
“It’s tiring, but it’s the level of commitment that Knoxy is expecting and it is what’s needed to see my game improve.”
A successful season of Australian club cricket in 2014-15 with Perth’s Subiaco Floreat Cricket Club proved to be a memorable experience, and as she continues to develop her game Chatterji is keen to find other opportunities a little closer to home.
“To be able to train and play regularly for a Division Two county near me would be great,” she added. “Obviously if it happened to be a Division One side it would be too!”
But for now her attention is firmly directed towards Sri Lanka and the biggest occasion of her career to date. Scotland will play in Group B against South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea whilst India, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Thailand meet in Group A. The top three teams in each group qualify for the Super Six phase and the chance to claim a place at the ICC Women’s World Cup to be held in England later this year.
“It’s inevitably going to be a massive learning experience for us,” said Chatterji. “Just playing out in those conditions is going to be a massive physical and mental challenge after cold and rainy Scotland! But ultimately it’s a competition and we want to come away with as many wins as possible.
“Getting to play against world-class players can only be a good thing,” she continued. “But whatever happens, we will learn from it, we’ll come back home and carry on working hard.
“We’ll keep on challenging ourselves to improve.”
(Reproduced with the permission of Cricket Scotland)
Jake Perry writes on Scottish cricket for Cricket Scotland and CricketEurope and is a regular contributor to HoldingWilley.