an all-rounder with the United States senior women’s cricket team, has a non-conventional practice routine that most international players from the top countries would not even consider, as she prepares for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup qualifier in Bangladesh later this year.
Prabhune, 29, measures out a 22-yard pitch in a parking lot near where she lives and plays in Seattle, Washington. She then draws three stumps against a wall with chalk and starts bowling her off spinners.
The idea of bowling at a wall in a parking lot is more like a group of kids getting together after school for a game. But it really magnifies two things. First, it shows what lengths women players in the US will go to as they prepare for a very important international date in Bangladesh that could lead to a berth in the World Cup finals in India in 2013.And, secondly, it shows the lack of playing conditions available for the top women players in the US.
US senior team all-rounder Erica Rendler has also gone the whole nine yards in preparing for the coming season and the qualifiers by turning to video to try to improve her batting and bowling.
Rendler said: “I’ve been incorporating a lot of video work in my training practices lately. I use the Go Pro action camera. It’s a high-definition wide-angled camera with an indestructible/waterproof housing. It provides an excellent view from behind the stumps, and I also mount the camera to my helmet and chest for mobile video shots, bowling run-up, and fielding.
“This has been a vital new tool in analyzing and reviewing my batting form and bowling technique. The high-definition slow motion allows me to monitor frame by frame.”
Rendler said she has been using the camera with coach Raj Padhi, who has also been helping with her batting against various spin bowling.
Prabhune, who was chosen in the US squad, which swept Canada 3-0 to advance to the qualifiers, played in one match — the third — and took 3/14 off three overs.
She isn’t complaining about her archaic training, but she would rather be bowling at a batswoman in the nets on a turf wicket. “That would be better,” she told USACA.org in an interview.
“With the weather warming up and less rain I am practicing at least twice a week.”
Prabhune is hopeful of winning selection in the team for the qualifiers and advancing to the World Cup so she can bowl her off-spinners against the best players in the world in India in two years. While she prepares in a parking lot, Prabhune is hoping if she is chosen, and her teammates are brought together at least twice for a few days to practice and get to know each other.
“It is always good to have time with each other and iron out any problems we might have,” she said. “You can’t expect the team to come together after a few days before a tournament.”
Asked where would be an ideal venue, Prabhune laughed and said: “Anywhere where it is sunny.” She added: “We would also like to have a coach.”
Prabhune said that having the players for a few days in a camp would allow them to play a game and get invaluable match conditioning before the qualifiers.
“The playing conditions in a match are a lot different to practice. It is also nice to get a few games under your belt,” she said.
Venelda Wallace, the New York Region women’s coordinator, is also heavily in favor of camps and the US team playing against experienced and better teams as part of a preparation for the World Cup qualifier.
“Our players have a lot of skills and talent, but we still need a lot of training,” she said. Wallace, who has been involved on the management side of cricket since 1998 and represented the US in netball, said administrators, should consider sending the team to Jamaica or Trinidad to play against the women’s teams there.
“They will then get a feel of the competitiveness that is required,” she said. Wallace said that a weekend in Jamaica or Trinidad – two relatively close venues, would not take the players away from their jobs, although some do work on weekends.
“We are going up against countries at the qualifiers that we have not played before and we need to play against teams that are highly competitive. We need to have some camps and practice games in the Caribbean to build the skills and get the conditioning and preparation to avoid injuries.”
Wallace said match conditioning was a high priority because the US senior men’s team also suffered injuries because players lacked the proper conditioning.