Watkin off to indoor world cup

Whanganui cricket prodigy Jessica Watkin is heading back indoors to once again pull on the black shirt with her selection in the New Zealand Under 21 Women's team to play at the World Indoor Cricket Federation (WICF) World Cup next month.

Allrounder Watkin will be packing her bags for Dubai, making her return to indoor cricket this year after last representing New Zealand at Under 18 level at the 2015 World Series in Brisbane against South Africa and two Australian teams.

The 10th WICF World Cup has been organised by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in partnership with Cricket Australia, and will involve Open and Under 21 men's and women's teams.

New Zealand U21 will be facing Australia, South Africa, England, and India plus two more teams out of the invited Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and hosts UAE.

They will play each other in a round-robin format, with the Top 4 sides making the semifinals to qualify for the final.

"It's like a proper World Cup, it's not the World Series," Watkin said.

The current New Zealand squad will reunite Watkin with about half of her team mates from 2015, with the majority of the group still teenagers.

"I reckon we have a good chance, we obviously don't have Amelia Kerr and Jess Kerr this time.

"We've got a young side, I'm thinking we should do well.

"There's new faces....and obviously there's huge cost as well."

Some first-choice selections have been unable to make the tour, lasting from September 10-26, due to requiring funds estimated at around $6000 just to go in a no-frills capacity.

Watkin has been hitting up potential local sponsors such as the Castlecliff Club, while also setting up a Givealittle page on the crowd-funding website.

She was selected for the New Zealand team after once again playing for Wellington at the national provincial tournament, as Central Districts does not have a women's indoor squad.

The young lady is also preparing herself for the unique cultural experience of Dubai, with the games being held inside the newly renovated Insportz Club - the Middle East's first indoor sports facility with fully air conditioned multipurpose courts.

"It's only just been [re]built - they built it so they can host it, so it will be pretty flash," said Watkin.

"I was looking the other day - it was 30 something degrees but it felt like 50 degrees.

"Oh, my gosh, Australia was hot enough."

There will also be the specific rules for women staying in a city where Islam is the official state religion.

"You've got to get on the right train, and just be like, covered and all that."

Watkin will soon learn where she fits in the batting and bowling order for the team.

In indoor cricket, eight players take part on the 'court', each bowling two overs and batting together in partnerships of four overs.

Running between wickets secures points, while hitting the ball to the boundary nets can yield up to a maximum of seven runs, depending on where the ball lands.

At the same time, losing a wicket means five runs get taken off the score, with partners playing out their full four overs no matter how many times they are dismissed.

"It's real tactical, we got a camp this weekend so we'll find out [our order] then," said Watkin.

"I'll be fielding in the back court."

To help Waktin reach her financial goal to attend the World Cup, visit https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/jesswatkinsroadtodubai/gallery to donate.

Wanganui Chronicle 5/8/17