You couldn’t blame bowlers for cursing the day Shakera Selman inspired India’s Jemimah Rodrigues to pursue cricket, but the West Indies star wears it as a badge of honour.
Rodrigues recently posted a picture of her 13-year-old self with Selman. Today, six years on, the pair are sharing a stage at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
The Barbadian seamer – who made her T20I debut in 2008, when Rodrigues was seven – is proud to have planted a seed in one of the world’s most exciting young batters.
“Honestly, I just felt really great to have inspired someone and Jemimah has impressed a lot,” said Selman, who also coached 7-11-year-olds in Barbados. “She is a really good cricketer and it meant a lot to see that this young girl that I met ten years ago is on the world stage now and dominating.
“My main goal is always to inspire and help however I can. So whenever I go home I try to help out and bring through other youngsters back in Barbados whenever I get the chance. Some of the girls who watched us are actually playing with us now, like Aaliyah Alleyne, and it is commendable, and I am happy to see that.”
The pair won’t meet on the field in the group stage, with India placed in Group A and West Indies in Group B, but could face one another in the knockout stages.
West Indies appear to have all bases covered in their pace attack, with youth in the shape of World Cup debutants Alleyne and Cherry-Ann Fraser and experience in Shamilia Connell and Selman.
They’ll also profit from the experience of a Caribbean cricketing legend during the tournament with Courtney Walsh joining the team as a bowling coach.
Selman, 30, has been in the wars of late with persistent knee injuries throughout 2019 and a scare in warm-up defeat to India as she was stretchered off after a head injury running back to take a catch.
Selman is confident in her physical condition but emphasised the strength in depth that sits behind her, particularly with world-class spinners Anisa Mohammed and Afy Fletcher.
“I have been struggling with my knee for a number of years,” she revealed. “In 2017 I had surgery; I tore a meniscus and I also messed up my ACL. I was out for a couple of months but then I came back into the game and got through the 2018 World Cup pretty well.
“But then it flared up again when we got to England last year. So in the last ten months I have only played two international games, but it feels really good to be back. I don’t feel undercooked, I back my experience. I have been around the game for a long time and I am just trusting the process. We have five pace bowlers on this trip but we also have a quality spin bowling attack who have Big Bash experience so know the conditions. Hopefully they can back up the pacers.”
(This column originally appeared on the International Cricket Council’s website and is being reproduced here from the ICC Media Zone)