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Selina Solman on cricket in Vanuatu and its progression

Cricket from Vanuatu first made global mainstream news after a Domestic T20 league was streamed across the world on YouTube, as one of the only live sports available to the masses at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, cricket has been growing steadily in the island nation. Selina Solman is the captain of the Vanuatu National Women’s Cricket Team. We recently caught up with her  in this short feature to discuss cricket, captaining her team and the future of the women’s game in Vanuatu.

 

Source: Nicky Kuautonga

Kinza Tahir: Tell us about yourself outside of the sports world. What are your likes and interests?

Selina Solman: Outside of cricket I don’t do much I just stay at home sometimes I babysit my sister’s babies, very normal or just go to the beach.

Like every other Pacific Islander, women would say, women should not play sport. Women are basically meant to stay at home and cook while men are able to go out and do whatever they want.

How did you get involved in cricket?

I got into cricket because of my cousin. I wanted him to play for my mixed netball team. He said if he plays mixed netball then I have to try cricket because he also plays for the Vanuatu side. I did make a promise to try cricket and never left the game after that.

What are the challenges you have faced since you started your career in cricket?

Like every other Pacific Islander, women would say, women should not play sport. Women are basically meant to stay at home and cook while men are able to go out and do whatever they want.

You are the first female cricketer to play premier first-grade cricket in Australia. How do you think there can be opportunities for women internationally?

 We have so many great players in Vanuatu as well. To be one of the first or the first to play premier cricket in Australia has helped me a lot to talk to my girls about how we as a team can work hard together and possibly, even play in the World Cup, one day.

What is the perception of cricket in Vanuatu? How do you think it has evolved since you joined cricket?

I joined cricket in 2013 and I’ll tell you we didn’t have any club cricket for girls that wanted to play cricket but somehow we still had national woman’s team. But now I am very proud to say that right now we have 8 clubs of women’s team. A lot of girls are playing cricket in Vanuatu now.

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What kind of skill set is necessary to be a captain?

 Personally, I don’t think you need someone else other than yourself to be the captain because the people that pick you to be captain know that you meant to be there.

What strategies have you adopted as a captain to lead the Vanuatu women’s cricket team? 

Probably would give a 110% when you are out there enjoy because never know or if you ever going to play again.

What are the growth and development strategies for cricket for women in Vanuatu? Where do you think it needs improvement? 

In my opinion, one of the most important ones is the cricket field, as so many girls want to play cricket but we don’t have enough fields to play. Meanwhile, if the boys are playing their club cricket then we have to wait for a while and it is the other way around.

Who is your favourite athlete of all time? 

When I started playing cricket, I didn’t even know anything about cricket, I never knew that Australia had some of the best cricketers in the world. That’s how I know Ellyse Perry as a player and love her and never stop watching the videos of her playing Elies all the way. I also love Michael Clarke as a captain. 

Back in 2017 I played for Fairbreak and in my team I got to play alongside Alex Blackwell, Suzie Bates and we played against some of the best players in the world. 

What has been the highlight of your career?

Back in 2017, I played for Fairbreak and in my team, I got to play alongside Alex Blackwell, Suzie Bates and we played against some of the best players in the world. 

Are you a bowler or a batter and why?

 I say more of a bowler but I love batting so I’m still working on it.

Selina Solman Vanuatu
Selina Solman batting for Vanuatu (Source: Nicky Kuautonga)

How does Vanuatu incorporate platforms and opportunities for young players?

So Vanuatu cricket is doing a really good job by giving scholarships to kids that are in the islands who want to go to school and play cricket. They come to Vila, and train in the hopes of making the national team one day.

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What advice would you give to aspiring cricketers?

I always say work hard on your cricket but all you must always enjoy the game too.

Any other words you would like to add?

 I would just like to say to the girls that want to try cricket come, cricket is something special because you learn new things every day.


Follow Selina Solman on  Twitter and Instagram.
For more cricket, visit Sportageous.
You can follow Kinza Tahir here on Twitter.

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