Alison’s professional hopesStaff Correspondent
South African women’s cricket is yet to reach a stage when the players can take the sport as a profession, said all-rounder and former national skipper Alison Hodgkinson on Wednesday.
Alison, 35, works for the British American Tobacco South Africa in Stellenbosch where she is employed as the national marketing planning manager.
‘Money is the reason we are not taking cricket as a profession as a lot of girls have to work to support themselves,’ said Allison.
‘You can’t be training all the time and doing other things as well and without training you can’t be producing results. It’s like the snow balls stick,’ she said.
Alison added that it’s a big challenge for her to maintain both her profession and cricket.
But there is more focus in the last three years and especially in the last year.
‘For me personally it’s quite a challenge to manage both but it also releases my stress when I go to train at night. It helps me in having a good balance,’ said Allison.
‘We are not full time cricketers, we are not even semi-professional cricketers as most of the other women’s teams are,’ she said.
Alison is now in Bangladesh with the South Africa women’s cricket team who will play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals against their local counterparts.
These matches will be final part of their preparations for the ICC World Twenty20, which kicks off in Sri Lanka next month.
‘We are hoping that we do good results on this tour as well as in the World Cup so that we get into a state of being semi-professional cricketers,’ added the all-rounder, who had played three Tests, three Twenty20 Internationals and 35 ODIs.
‘I think in the last three years there were a lot more focus on women’s cricket. We changed a lot of provincial structure and now we are playing home and away unlike before when we used to play only one tournament a year,’ said Alison.
‘There are lot more investment in the women’s game in the hope that we would fast produce results and can compete with the world’s best and hopefully we would get sponsors and the money behind to do that,’ said Alison.
‘But still we get money only when we are on tour unlike in some other countries where there are contracted players,’ she said.
She also praised British Tobacco for their support which she believes had helped her continue the game.
‘I have been marketing planning manager of British Tobacco Company and I have been working there for 11 years. I look after the forecasting as well as putting together the marketing campaign,’ said Allison.
‘I am now on leave and they have been very good with me in this regard,’ said the 36-year-old blonde.
‘I haven’t played a lot for South Africa at the start of my career. At that time I managed it well. I only started to play more for the last couple of years and they have been excellent.
‘I work really hard long nights and something like that. They give me some sports leave when I go out and that’s it,’ she added.
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