Profiles ProfilesRSS FeedFeeds

Emma Sampson

The might of Sampson

One of the world's fastest women bowlers is raring to get going at her first World Cup

Jenny Roesler

March 6, 2009

Text size: A | A


Sampson: ruthless but relaxed © Getty Images
Enlarge
 

"Let's just play rallies." One of the world's fastest women bowlers is relaxing on an Adelaide tennis court ahead of her first World Cup. "Just a knockabout." But within seconds Emma Sampson is subconsciously firing down winners past my hopelessly lunging racquet.

Tall and athletically lean, the 23-year-old Sampson is a born sportswoman, but for all her innate competitiveness she does not come across as ruthless off the pitch. Rather, the naturally gifted Australian fast bowler is hugely relaxed - though not necessarily laidback.

She shares with her club and country captain, Karen Rolton, a quiet determination and a sense of always being in control of the situation. There must be something in the Port Adelaide water.

Sampson's best mode of play is calm. "In the lead-up to a game I just normally try to stay as relaxed as possible," she says. "Then we have some music playing in the changing room and everyone gets to pick a song. I like Linkin Park, but you're lucky if you get your song played, as there are about 20 songs on the CD. Then we focus in our warm-up and have a group huddle."

Sampson bowls at about 118kph (73mph) , and her bouncer is her most dangerous - and, I detect, favourite - weapon. Allied to nagging accuracy, hers is a potent potion. Best of all, she is that rarest of creatures - a thinking fast bowler. From 26 ODIs, her average of 21.94 doesn't tell as true a story as her economy-rate of 3.65.

Sampson's entry into cricket is a familiar tale of growing up playing alongside the boys on the street. "I was always the annoying one when I was little, I always had to win. Playing with the boys, you had to be fairly competitive." And was she as good? "I think so," she giggles, almost embarrassed.

She chose cricket because it was what she was best at, and from there progressed easily through the ranks. With an ability to field in many positions and a solid left-handed batting technique that enables her side to bat right down the order, Sampson represents all that is good about Australian cricket. But she is also kept on her toes by the ever-abundant talent stream of the domestic game. "You have to make sure you're doing all the right things and keeping your form good."

The contracts have helped - now she is recompensed for time away from work, and when not on tour she works as an administrator for an industrial company, Adelaide Inspection Services. She has, she says, been lucky to find such an accommodating employer. "My boss and the directors are all very understanding and supportive. I also have a job to come back to!" she adds, implicitly referring to the fact that she was dismissed from her previous job purely for playing too much cricket.

Her new boss, by contrast, has allowed her to work four days a week. "It's good to have a day off to catch up on your washing and so on!" she smiles. He lets her have as much time off as she needs and will be following her scores closely in the upcoming World Cup. He could even watch her on Foxtel whenever Australia play at North Sydney Oval, which is also where the final will be held. Though all games are in New South Wales, there is expected to be plenty of support from South Australia, with friends, family and clubmates heading out from Adelaide.

Sampson, in her first World Cup, is excited as she prepares to help her country try to defend the trophy. "I can't wait. It's what you train for as a cricketer. Home advantage will help - we all know what the climate is like and the pitches are like in Australia. The New South Wales girls will be able to help us, although we've all played quite a bit in Sydney. "

She won't be drawn on whether she would prefer to win the World Cup or this year's Ashes, where Australia have lost the last two series. "Both!" she smiles.

For now, though, her eyes are on the one-day prize.

Jenny Roesler is a former assistant editor at Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Jenny Roesler

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Jenny RoeslerClose
Related Links
Players/Officials: Emma Sampson
Series/Tournaments: ICC Women's World Cup
Teams: Australia

'Ponting was an instinctive, aggressive player'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Ricky Ponting's technique

    MacLeod spells hope for Scotland

Allrounder Calum MacLeod's return from a faulty action is key to Scotland's World Cup hopes. By Tim Wigmore

The Australian who dares to attack spin

From lead spinner and No. 8, Steven Smith has become a central figure in the batting line-up. By Brydon Coverdale

    'Gibbs used to toss the ball like a basketball'

My XI: Erapalli Prasanna on the West Indian offspinner who had a killer instinct

Cricket's humanity resists specialisation

Jon Hotten: While major sports across the world are driving their competitors towards homogenous physical ideals, cricket seems to celebrate diversity

News | Features Last 7 days

Manic one-day chases, and daddy partnerships

Also, most brothers in a Test XI, and the fastest to 20 ODI centuries

Has international cricket begun to break up?

The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams

Well worth the wait

Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin

Younis Khan and the art of scoring hundreds

Out of 70 batsmen who've scored 15 or more Test hundreds only five are from Pakistan, but Younis Khan's appetite for hundreds matches that of some of the top contemporary batsmen

Australia outdone in every way

Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing

News | Features Last 7 days

    Has international cricket begun to break up? (83)

    The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams

    Australia outdone in every way (51)

    Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing

    Lyon low after high of 2013 (49)

    The offspinner was Australia's highest wicket-taker in 2013, but his form has dipped sharply this year

    Well worth the wait (36)

    Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin

    No Ajmal, no problem for Pakistan (33)

    When a team loses its best bowler, it is expected that the team's performance will suffer. As usual, Pakistan defied the expectations