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The Jamaican parish of St Catherine will be buzzing tonight with the news that one of their own will be playing in West Indies' first ever Women's World Cup final. Allrounder Stafanie Taylor was a keen footballer when she was young and so it is a primary school teacher who we have to thank for encouraging her to have a go at cricket as well. She was the only girl at her school who played and luckily she loved it, turned out to be rather good and last year was named ICC Women's ODI Cricketer of the Year. St Catherine is one of the biggest parishes in Jamaica and Taylor says her father often gets people coming up to him to comment on something his daughter has done in cricket. The 21-year-old is studying Forensic Science at university and has always had a dream to be a forensic scientist – “I love CSI,” she proclaimed, after I interviewed her on the outfield following West Indies’ historic win over New Zealand. She only started studying last year, and cricket commitments mean it is going to take her fully seven years to complete the course. She's now got the small matter of a World Cup final to worry about first.
Some more serious football skills exist in the genes of England allrounder Jenny Gunn. Her father is Bryn Gunn, the former Nottingham Forest defender who helped Brian Clough’s side win the European Cup in 1980, coming on as a second-half substitute as they beat Hamburg 1-0 in the final. A household that boasts both a European Cup and a Cricket World Cup winner’s medal is pretty special. Add to that an Ashes-winning medal from 2005 and it’s a mantelpiece that would be hard to beat.
This is my fifth visit to Mumbai and I have finally been out on a boat in the harbour to get a different perspective on Apollo Bunder and the magnificent sea front that is the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel.
The passenger boat took me seven miles offshore to Elephanta Island, which is about an hours’ ferry ride away from the famous basalt arch, which was built overlooking the Arabian Sea to commemorate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.
Elephanta Island is a hilly, wooded, island, only 4-6 square kilometres in size (the well-thumbed but supposedly ‘new’ guide book I bought on the ferry wharf says the area varies with the tide).
The island isn’t home to any elephants sadly, but was named Elephanta by the Portugese because there used to be a huge stone statue of an elephant near the landing place. Locals know the island by its Hindu name “Gharapuri” – “puri” meaning “town” although very few people live there and visitors can’t stay overnight.
The tourist attraction on the island is a set of impressive cave temples, which, according to my guide book (page 5 almost falling out by now) date back to the 3rd Century BC.
My favourite carving was a colossal Trimurti – a three-headed bust symbolising the “oneness of god” and depicting the three Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as creator, protector and destroyer of the universe.
There are two postal workers at this World Cup. New Zealand left-armer Sian Ruck works for NZ Post, while Australia’s coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick used to combine being the fastest bowler in the game with work as a “postie”. I guess you might say that a speedy delivery was always guaranteed…
Alison Mitchell tweets at @AlisonMitchell
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