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Sports

Hitting it out of the park

As a proud member of ACG Sunderland’s First XI cricket team, Shaiyana Adhar is not letting anything get in her way.

Currently in Year 11, the talented fifteen-year-old is a relative newcomer to the sport after being introduced to the game only three years ago at the Waitakere Cricket Club (WCC). Yet, in that short timeframe she has not only become one of Sunderland’s strongest players but has also been selected for five different teams and academies in both indoor and outdoor cricket.

Competing at club and district representative levels, Shaiy has proven herself to be a valued member of:

  • the U15 Western Districts academy and team
  • the U15 Auckland Girls team
  • the Waitakere Premier Reserves (which she captained)
  • the North Harbour Colts Indoor Superleague
  • the U17 Auckland Girls team (where she shared vice-captain duties)

“I enjoy being able to play with several different teams because I get to meet different groups of people who share the same interests as me and because of this we all become very close,” says Shaiy. “We have a shared goal, and that is to have fun and win.”

Clearly Shaiy has had no shortage of game time, but she is always delighted to have the chance to represent her school.

“I feel that it’s important to represent the school because not many people get the opportunity, especially being a girl. There are not many cricket teams for girls.”

And being the only female in the Sunderland First XI is something the highly skilled all-rounder easily takes in stride.

“I have played in a few boys teams for indoor and outdoor cricket before, so it wasn’t a big change for me. I am quite used to it now.”

“Shaiyana is a very skilled player with a calm demeanour and naturally acts as a leader both on and off the field,” adds Lawrence Stephens, Sunderland Deputy Principal and First XI Coach. “As the only female player in the team she is highlighted which could put her under pressure, this does not seem to be the case and week in, week out she performs at a high level.”

Highly passionate about the sport, Shaiy is equally at home whether batting or bowling and is happy to focus on whichever role best suits the team.

“I like both because you are able to adjust either your batting and bowling strategies to increase your chances at winning,” she explains.

Her all-round expertise has clearly paid off, earning Shaiy a string of accolades and achievements from the WCC at an Open Women’s Level. Last season she was awarded a trifecta of trophies for her batting skills, bowling abilities, and as most promising women’s player.

Shaiy is appreciative of the recognition and support she has received and was thrilled that her hard work and dedication had paid off.

“It means that the effort I put in on and off the field is paying off, and I’m grateful for my awards.”

However, she is quick to point out that her success on the pitch has not been at the expense of her studies. She is adept at juggling her academic commitments with her training obligations and has discovered the value of time-management and organisation.

“For me, my schoolwork always comes first. This means I make sure I have all my homework completed by the beginning of the week so I can play/train later in the week. My training days tend to be towards the end of the week, so it usually isn’t a problem.”

Cricket has provided Shaiy with many highlights over the past few years, especially the hard-fought victories and the strong friendships she has built. And as for her future in the sport, Shaiy’s cricketing aspirations for next season are as pragmatic as they are straightforward.

“My main overall goal is to increase my bowling speed and to develop my batting shots. For club cricket it would be to continue top order batting and bowling, and for indoor cricket it would be to learn new plays/strategies to improve my abilities as captain.”