Devonie Hayles, who also answers to the more familiar name of Vanessa, walks with a confident strut and a look of determination. It’s an attitude she brings to her game ever time she steps on to the field. The Jamaican-born player who flashes a shy, but winsome smile ever so often, has been knocking at the door of the USA national women’s selectors since 2009 when she played in the first-ever USA national women’s cricket tournament at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida.
Under the watchful eyes of coach Linden Fraser, Devonie has blossomed into a player with a confident run-up when delivering her pacers, and with an accurate line and length, something she lacked at the inception of her cricketing journey three years ago.
Ms. Hayles is determined to maintain her passion for the sport as she trains hard with the thought at the back of her mind that one day she will wear the stars and stripes of the USA, if not the green and gold of her native Jamaica. But for now, she no doubt has her sights set on being a part of Team USA at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Bangladesh, this November.
Newyorkcricket.com in an exclusive interview with pacer Devonie Vanessa Hayles, asked her…
Why the interest in women’s cricket?
I am interested in cricket because of my love for the game. I used to follow my dad to his games on Sundays, but I always thought that it was a man’s sport. If I could go back in time I wish I knew about the sport in Jamaica and that there were females playing the sport.
How long have you been playing the sport?
I have been playing cricket for three years now.
What’s your favorite role in the sport? Batswoman or bowler?
I am a bowler and I enjoy fielding.
Are you the only one in your family who plays cricket?
As a female, yes I am the only one who plays, but my dad still plays the game.
Do you feel that women’s cricket will really take hold in the USA, and if so, why?
Yes, I think women’s cricket will take a hold in the USA, because of how many more women are becoming involved in the game. Although it is mainly a man’s sport, for us females it’s a great opportunity for us to play the game.
What is the single most important thing needed at this time to get young girls as excited about the sport as young boys?
For young girls to get excited about a male dominated sport I think there needs to a greater commitment from the USACA, by having more tournaments for the ladies who are already playing the sport in the USA, so that young girls could become interested in the sport.
Do you think the sport should be introduced as a co-ed sport in American schools, or be kept strictly along gender lines, boys playing separately from girls?
Yes, I think cricket should be introduced as a co-ed sport in American schools.
Where do you see women’s cricket in the next ten years in the USA?
In the next ten years I see women’s cricket in the USA growing because I think it’s going to be introduced in schools (I hope) and then more females will gravitate towards the sport.
What role, if not as an active cricketer, do you see yourself playing in the sport in the next 5-10 years?
In the next 5-10 years if am not actively playing, I would love to teach young girls how to play the sport, so that means I would have to get my coaching certificate.
What advice would you give a young girl interested in learning the sport?
I would advise any young girl who is interested in learning how to play the sport, to let someone knowledgeable in the sport or a coach teach her the techniques of the sport.
What single piece of advice would you give USA cricket administrators regarding the development of women’s cricket here in the USA?
I would advise the USA cricket administrators to get more serious about the females playing the game. Female cricket in the USA only started three years ago, and already the USA is doing an excellent job.