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Karen Rolton

'People are surprised how good women's cricket is'

The departing Australian captain on the worst singer in the squad, touring India, arm-wrestling Michael Clarke, and more

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Karen Rolton launches the ball over the bowler's head, Australia v South Africa, Group A, women's World Cup, Newcastle, March 10, 2009
'For any people who are derisive, I think they might not have actually come out and watched women's cricket' © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Karen Rolton

1. What advice would you give your replacement, Jodie Fields? asked Riley from Canada
Just back yourself and go with your gut instinct. Back your bowlers and everyone on the field.

2. An Ashes win or a World Cup win - which would hold more meaning for you? asked Dorian from Australia
[Instantly] The World Cup. Which World Cup? Every World Cup! [laughs. Rolton has won three World Cups, including making a century in the 2005 edition]

3. How much have central contracts benefited? Is that the solution to prevent players like Emma Sampson from quitting the game? asked Julie Meyers from the UK
I don't think contracts had anything to do with why Emma left - she just wanted to see the world. In Australia we get good support and it's heading in the right direction, along with England. Women's cricket is coming along pretty well.

4. Do you think holding the women's World Twenty20 at the same time as the men's worked? I felt the women's games got completely ignored since there was men's cricket going on asked Summer Dighton from the UK
I think it worked well. There's been good mention on Cricinfo and in the papers and on TV as well. We had good crowds to watch our semi-final. I don't think we would have got that many if we hadn't played ahead of the men.

5. Was radio host Ed Kavalee's claim that he could score a century against the Australian women's side a gimmick? Do you often meet people who are derisive of women's cricket? How do you counter it? asked J Mackee from Sydney
I don't really know too much about it, although I do know Ed didn't score a hundred! It's good to get some publicity. As for any people who are derisive, I think they might be the people who haven't actually come out and watched women's cricket. When they see it for the first time, people are always surprised about how good it is. Friday's game against England at The Oval is a perfect example for people watching in the ground and on TV. It was just a good game of cricket.

6. Aside from the cricket, which has been your favourite tour in terms of sightseeing, comfort, eating out etc? asked Shivram from New Jersey
I do enjoy India, going out on the streets and looking at all the shops there. I always buy a fair bit of jewellery when I'm out there. I just really love India.

7. Who's the worst dresser in the Australian squad? And who just can't hold a tune? asked Anita Dewan from Mumbai
I don't think we have anyone. They all dress pretty well. [Rolton turns to her team and asks: "Who's the worst singer?" "Pez [Ellyse Perry]," replies Lisa Sthalekar immediately. "I am pretty bad," says Perry. Rolton then asks: "Who's the worst dresser? I put 'No one.'" Everyone agrees.]

8. What are your views on young Ellyse Perry? Do you think she could be the superstar women's cricket has been waiting for? asked Sree J from the USA
She could be. There's quite a few players coming through, not just from Australia. Ellyse is a really good talent, she's still only 18. She bats, bowls and fields well, and I think she'll become a really excellent cricketer over the years to come.

9. Can or should the women get close to the strength of the male players through weights, or is technique more important? Who are the strongest/buffest girls and how badly would they be able to smash Michael Clarke in an arm wrestle? asked James from Australia
Strength-wise and the way we bowl and hit, we're never going to. If you look at women's tennis and women's golf, they don't hit as hard as the men and they're never going to. The same in cricket. It's all about genetics. We've still got all the shots and the girls can still bowl the bouncers and the batters can still hit it away.

I don't know about beating Michael Clarke in an arm-wrestle, but the New Zealand girls are strong and some of them might give him a run for his money.

10. Who would you rate as the most exciting young talent in women's cricket? asked Jane from the UK
Ellyse Perry from Australia has a good all-round game. She'll be one to watch out for. Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor from West Indies are also some good talents coming through.

11. Whose batting style among the men does yours resemble the most? asked Manasvi Lingam from India
I guess growing up I used to love watching Darren Lehmann play, being a left-hander, and he's from the same state as me. I don't know if I exactly bat like him, but he's someone I really look up to. I also loved watching Brian Lara play, and of course Sachin Tendulkar.

Interview by Katherine White

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