UAE women’s international Esha Oza says she has improved the mental side of her game after playing against England’s KIA Super League clubs last month in the UK.
Oza, 20, was part of the ICC Global Development Squad that travelled to England in July after being recommended by the Emirates Cricket Board for her outstanding domestic season.
The team, which consisted of players from Ireland, the Netherlands, PNG, Uganda and Scotland had a strong tour where they beat Surrey Stars twice (seven wickets and two runs) as well as Western Storm by five wickets. Their only loss came against Loughborough Lightning.
Although she didn’t bat as much as she would have liked to, Oza was effective with the ball, taking three wickets, including that of South African stars Lizelle Lee and Dane Van Niekerk.
“I didn’t bat as much as I would have liked but I scored an unbeaten 20 against Loughborough and hit the winning runs against Western Storms. Yet, batting against international stars and bowling to them is something I never imagined before,” she said.
“It was a really good experience and being on the same field was a fantastic feeling.”
She added: “The mentality of my game has improved a lot now and I know understand the importance of planning. We were told to plan out our innings and break the game in parts and play according to the situation. This really helped me understand how to play in different situations and how differently you have to play against different opposition.”
As well as the matches, the squad also undertook a biomechanics testing session at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) national performance centre and was mentored by former England women’s coach Mark Lane.
The initiative is a partnership between the ICC and the ECB, who hope it can provide exposure to teams outside the top-eight ranked sides who feature in the ICC Women’s Championship in their bid to make the World Twenty20Is more competitive in the coming years.
And Oza, who was the only UAE player in the squad, hopes this programme can be held regularly so that her other team-mates can improve their game just like how she did.
“Yes, I hope this can be done on a regular basis by the ICC,” she said. “It’s a great boost for the women’s game and opportunities like these will only take the game higher and higher.”