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SportsMarch 1, 2017

‘If you want it too much it can strangle you’: Amy Satterthwaite on her record-tying fourth consecutive ODI century


Amy Satterthwaite is the second person, and only woman, to score four consecutive ODI centuries. Madeleine Chapman caught up with her to see about making it five. 

“If you just read it as it’s spelled, it’s quite straightforward, but people seem to freak out.”

Amy Satterthwaite doesn’t sound too bothered by the fact that commentators can’t seem to say her name right. Not a lot should be bothering Satterthwaite these days anyway. On Sunday, as the White Ferns beat Australia at Eden Park to take a 1-0 lead in the Rose Bowl series, Satterthwaite became only the second cricketer ever to score four consecutive ODI centuries. The first was Kumar Sangakkara, widely considered to be the greatest ever ODI batsman. It’s an achievement that’s garnered much praise within the cricket community and inspired Jim Kayes to post what looked like a dank meme but was actually just a genuinely nice tweet.

Pic courtesy of Jim Kayes Media courtesy of the White Ferns

As I sat in the office store room/shower yesterday and listened to Satterthwaite talk about getting her first century at 14 years old, I thought back to my years of playing cricket and never getting a century, or even close to one. She talked casually about the thoughts that pop up when you near triple figures in an innings and I nodded along as if I could relate, having gotten a half century that one time. But I can’t relate, and not many people can. Which is why her feat is truly remarkable. Four consecutive ODI centuries and a shot at breaking the record with a fifth on Thursday when the White Ferns play Australia again in Mount Maunganui. It won’t be televised because, well, I don’t know why, so history might be confined to the undoubtedly modest crowd that’ll be present.

But before the big day, I wanted to find out what it takes to be a record-breaking batter.

Below is a lightly condensed transcript of our chat.

Comparing your first ever century at 14 years old to your latest one, how do they stack up?

I think the latest one has to top just about any of them. Obviously getting one against the Aussies is always a nice one.

You’re now mentioned in the same sentence as Kumar Sangakkara for having four consecutive ODI centuries. If you get another one, you will suddenly be in your own sentence. Is it almost motivation to not get another one so that you stay in the ‘Kumar Sangakkara and Amy Satterthwaite’ sentence?

It’s certainly got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Kumar’s been someone who’s been an idol for me growing up, being left-handed and the style he plays his cricket. To have my name and his name in the same sentence is pretty special.

When did you realise you had a streak of centuries going?

The third one probably hit that on the head. I certainly didn’t realise there were those records and that sort of things. I wouldn’t have even known what they were.

Be honest now, because I wouldn’t know, at what point in an innings do you realise you could get a century?

It depends on the innings and it changes every time it happens. That last game we had so much going on and I was just worried about the run rate and focusing on so much else, I didn’t even quite realise what I was on until it was pretty close to the fact. When it’s your first century or your second century, you might be 20-odd away when it starts to become something that could actually happen.

People have mocked Lebron James for being melodramatic when he got leg cramps in the NBA finals. You got leg cramps during that latest innings, so what do you have to say to those who belittle the agony of cramps?

I don’t want anyone to go through what I had [on Sunday]. I’ve certainly had cramp before but normally it’s an isolated spot, like just one hamstring. But yesterday was both calves and a groin and I even got it in the forearm after the game. It’s certainly a crippling thing that you can’t do much about so no, I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. It’s not a nice feeling at all. I ended up on the bathroom floor after the game, feeling like I was in rigor mortis.

This is a huge game coming up on Thursday, both in that you could break a record with another century and also bring home the Rose Bowl. Has this been something you’ve dreamed about?

You’d be pretty spot on there. We haven’t won the Rose Bowl in 17 years and that’s longer than I’ve been involved with the White Ferns. It’s something that all the girls in this team are absolutely chomping at the bit to achieve. Then you’ve got to be careful because sometimes if you want it too much it can kind of strangle you. We’re obviously in a good position at the moment but we were in a similar position last year and Australia came back and beat us. So we know we’ve still got a long way to go.

As a middle order batter, do you thrive under pressure and want to go in as soon as possible, or would you rather sit back and watch others do the work for a while?

I don’t mind a bit of both. If the other girls are performing, you’re more than happy to watch it and sit back and enjoy it. At the end of the day, we just love winning. So however we get there, whoever performs, I’m pretty happy.

You’re in fine form at the moment. Do you plan to stick around in cricket for a while longer?

The way that the games changed in the last twelve or so months is huge, it’s just grown and grown. There are opportunities for females now around the world to be involved. You’d be silly, in a way, to turn it down. While I’m still performing and enjoying playing, I’ll continue. But cricket can be a pretty harsh game and if you’re not performing, it becomes pretty tough work to get out of bed and go play again.

You were passed the torch of ‘tall lanky all-rounder’ by Nicola Browne. Have you seen anyone who you might be able to pass the torch onto when the time comes?

Not at the moment. I certainly think Nic flew that flag very well for a long time and I’ve been honoured to take that role on from her. We’ve got some tall girls playing at the moment, but probably not quite- oh actually, no. One that comes to mind is Hannah Rowe. She would definitely be one that I could pass that on to.

I’m actually only 1.76m. I’ve got deceptively long legs and a relatively short torso so it makes me look taller than I am.

With four consecutive centuries, you’ve certainly got your eye in. Does that make it easier to go out and bat, knowing you’re hitting the ball so well?

It helps give you a bit more confidence and take a few risks at times but cricket can be up and down so quickly, so you never quite know. The occasion always makes you a bit nervous and if you weren’t nervous you’d probably be wondering why you’re playing.

The White Ferns will take on Australia in the 2nd ODI of the Rose Bowl series on Thursday 2nd March at Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui. Follow their progress here

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