Natasha Cherriath, 14, was 12 years old when she was appointed UAE captain in the 2007 ACC Women's Tournament in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. She was more of a bowler then, distinguished by her grace under pressure and accurate medium-pace. Those qualities were still on display in the recently concluded ACC U-19 Women's Championship and to them were added a thumping off-drive and terrific batting technique. She finished Batter of the Tournament with 121 runs at 30.25. She is on her way to being one of the best cricketers in Asia.

Natasha Cherriath spoke to us in Chiang Mai and, following the conclusion of the U-19 tournament, online from her home in Dubai.

"Although some of my friends dislike the game, I still think it's amazing."

When did you start playing cricket?

"I started playing in August 2003 in the Sharjah Cricket Academy. I was coached at the time by Shehzad Altaf, a UAE national cricketer who played in the 1996 World Cup. I was one girl amongst all the boys playing cricket."

11-year-old Natasha, a winner with Insportz Blue team at the Nissan Gulf Cup 2005

What do you love about the game?

"I just love the game itself. Although some of my friends dislike the game, I still think it's amazing. Probably the reason why they can't sit through a game is because it takes an entire day to finish but now with Twenty20, they're starting to get the hang of it."

There is so much that cricket can teach you in life. It teaches us about hard work, to learn from our mistakes and respect for the opposition. Going through life we're bound to hit lows and the important thing is to just keep working hard at whatever we're doing and we'll definitely get better at it.

What's been different about this ACC U-19 tournament compared to the senior teams' one last year in Malaysia?

"We are a young and energetic bunch and there is a great sense of team spirit. Not that things were much different in Malaysia - but for the senior tournament there were vast age gaps but still the players respected me as a captain and I really needed that support from them. It is really what matters most to me."

Next Page | “I started off as a bowler and always came to the crease at the tail-end of the batting order while playing with the boys.”