November 10, 2000

Campbell signs off and gets ready to play

She's dotted the i's and crossed the t's.

Nothing has been left to chance and now the woman who has organised it, Catherine Campbell, can take her place in the CLEAR New Zealand White Ferns and get on with the playing of the game.

Campbell, who is the manager of women's cricket for New Zealand Cricket (NZC), has been busy for the past year leading The Management team that has been preparing for the CricInfo Women's World Cup which starts on November 29 at Lincoln University near Christchurch.

She's also the leading women's spin bowler in New Zealand and a central, and experienced, part of the side attempting to win the World Cup and the CricInfo Trophy for the first time.

While she's played in three previous World Cups, she's never been involved in organising anything like this year's event.

"Before, I just worked in my own little area worrying about the women's game. I might go and ask somebody in marketing a question but that would be all.

"In this role it has been a holistic thing, working in budget matters, marketing, match management, talking with sponsors, the whole works.

"I have had to know what is going on in all areas and to have the knowledge so that if I am asked a question I can give an answer," she said.

As a player she had just turned up for a tournament and had never given a thought about the organisation that might have gone into running the event.

She did have the assistance of NZC administration manager Tim Murdoch who had been involved in the organisation for other World Cups both for the men's team in 1992 and for World Youth Cups.

Having enjoyed the benefits of email she wondered how organisers had got on in the past when they had to rely on the mail, or faxing.

"The Northern-Southern Hemisphere thing has worked out well too because I could send a query off before going home at night and the answer would be there when I came in next morning," she said.

While there had been a communal committee working on the preparations, everyone else had still to be involved in their own areas. Men's tours still had to be organised as well as events on the domestic scene.

"Everyone has been stretched but it has been wonderful that everyone has been able to put in a dedicated effort.

"We worked with the goal of making the best World Cup yet so that teams would leave the event feeling it had been a great thing to be involved in," she said.

Having the tournament based in one area, Christchurch, and at one venue, Lincoln, had been contentious when it was announced but she thought that would give the event an Olympic Games-type feel.

"Four of the teams will be here for a month so they have to feel part of it," she said.

There was a lot to be said for taking the game out to the people, but there was also the view that NZC is hosting the event, paying for it, and that as the base for the game here it had two international grounds of a high standard and was capable of hosting it at one place.

"The general impression is that it [Lincoln] will be a great place to play and watch cricket. The new pavilion on the [BIL] Oval, the mounds and the marquees will ensure there is a lot of colour and I'm sure that with perhaps 2000 people watching the New Zealand-Australia game which opens the tournament there will be a great atmosphere."

"It will be an outstanding venue," she said.

With all the administration work Campbell has still found time to meet her team preparation commitments, although she admits it has been harder since the season began a month ago.

"I've worked some reasonably long hours, at my own choice, over the last few weeks," she said.

Knowing the venues so intimately, and being aware of the quality of the sides taking part she believes the team that wins the tournament will be the side that scores plenty of runs.

"With the wickets we have, the pace of the outfield, it is going to be a batting tournament. It will be difficult to bowl out teams in 50 overs. I hope the weather will play its part," she said.

"The teams will have a wonderful time. They will be well looked after and a lot of work has gone into preparing information so they know what to expect here," she said.

She believed the teams will enjoy staying together at the same accommodation.

"At other Cups there has been a lot of travelling and not a lot of time for teams to mix. You finish your game, pack your gear, get on a bus and are off to the next venue. Here, they'll be able to watch other teams play and to mix with one another.

"Lincoln University has gone out of its way to make sure it is a success. I'm sure it will work out well," she said.

Having tournament sponsor CricInfo one floor beneath NZC had also been a help.

"Liaison has been easy and really smooth because everything gets done straight away," she said.

As for New Zealand's chances in the tournament?

Campbell believes there are three or four players in the side ready to launch themselves onto the world scene. They had all the potential and with the right edge to their mental game, that could be a big help for New Zealand.