Leonie Bennett is a National Cricket Player for Netherlands Women Cricket Team. She started playing Cricket at the age of 8. Leonie's Dad and brother were familiar with Cricket, so it was easy for her to pick up the game. Family's support and her determination got her into the National Side of Netherlands. Leonie made her ODI debut against Ireland on Aug 17,2011. Also she played a T20 Match in the same year. Things were pretty fine, until an injury stuck her ankle just before the World Cup Qualifiers in Ireland. But Leonie continued her game amidst all the pains and struggles. The matter grew worse with time and her MRI Scan showed damaged ankle ligaments. She was advised rest and that completely kept her away from Cricket. But she didn't stop; she didn't give up and started recovering soon. And now is in a good condition to run and slowly is catching up Cricket. Leonie has been an outstanding story of inspiration. Global Cricket Community would like to wish her a healthy & quick recovery and we would love to see you in your "18" number jersey. Way to go Girl.
1. Tell us about yourself?
Full Name : Leonie Bennett
Date of Birth : 8th December 1993
Playing Role : bowler.. definitely a bowler
Batting Style : right handed
Bowling Style : left arm orthodox
Country : The Netherlands
2. What age did you start playing Cricket? How did you get in touch with the game?
I was 8 when I officially started playing for the club. But was always at the club as my brother and father also played. I was introduced to cricket as a baby, also cricket runs through my veins. Uncles, cousins, grandfathers etc, all played cricket.
3. Who were your cricketing heroes whilst growing up?
My heroes, that's a good question.
I didn't really have cricket heroes, we had dutch TV so didn't have cricket on TV. And if there was an odd occasion we could watch cricket I was to hyperactive to sit still for a longer period of time.
Growing up I mostly just wanted to play because I enjoyed it not due to wanting to be like my hero.
4. Was your family supportive when you started off with Cricket? Was it ever hard for you to convince them?
My family are the most supportive people I know. My brother convinced me to go for my first practise. My parents loved it and my sister always supported me too even though she doesn't like cricket. Couldn't have wished for a better family.
5. What do you enjoy the most on the field? Is it lofting the ball over boundaries, or breaking stumps or fielding?
Haha I would love to be able to loft a ball over boundaries. I love every bit of cricket for different reasons. But it's definitely between bowling and fielding, Not sure if I can make a choice. I really enjoy fielding but bowling is what i've put my heart and all my energy in.
6. If not Cricket, where else would you have landed up in your Career?
That's the position i'm currently in due to my injury. In the Netherlands and ladies cricket you always have to think of a back up just because there is no big career possibility really. Always played football (soccer), field hockey and horse riding. But I chose cricket. I would love to go into marketing or something like that, so I can use my creativity while I work.
7. Any major challenges that you faced all these years? How do you feel can those challenges be addressed?
Insecurity, depression and shyness. And then now my injury.
The first 3 nearly always come combined, happens to so many athletes but people don't realise.
I was always highly insecure while growing up, the typical girl things to start with. But later I got worse and scared of people and didn't dare to walk to the shops on my own which is a 3 minute walk. Which got worse when I was older. There was a time when I was 18 just after our work cup qualifiers in Bangladesh. I stopped school and just sat at home for nearly 2 years.
All I did was play cricket and once a week did a course to become sports massuese.
After a lot of training and playing cricket and loving that I started to become proud of my own hard work. Which was the beginning of me growing as a person.
Now 21, I have nearly been working at the same place for 2 years, looking to go back to school again, very social and love life.
My injury was a very big issue. Just before world cup qualifiers in Ireland I did my ankle in. Thought give it a week and it will be fine to play in Ireland. I played all the games and was in so much pain I thought I had seriously damaged something. For 2 years I kept playing and had seen several doctors and been to several hospitals and only got told give it rest you'll be fine.
Then last season one game I came of the field and all I could do was sit on the floor and cry. I was tired of the pain. My dad told me to see his physiotherapist.
He straight away said i'm sending you for an MRI scan something isn't right.
My outside (lateral) ankle ligaments were highly damaged.
I got told there is a chance you'll never play again, I needed surgery last January 31st.
Of course I was broken hearted.
I was in a cast for 2 months.
Now in October 2015 i'm starting to run again.
Hard work and patience pays of.
Still not sure if i'll be able to play, but i'm happy that atleast I can run!
8. Where do you and your team see yourself in coming 5 years? Where do you want to focus in order to improve your cricket?
My team has qualifiers in Bangkok this winter and I seriously hope they all do well but most importantly enjoy the experience. It's a very young but very talented team.
For myself I need to focus on rehabilitation.
9. What would be that one goal of your life to achieve as a Cricketer?
My goal was to play a test match. I love test cricket.
10. Which do you feel has been the biggest highlight of your sporting career so far? Any achievements or rewards that you cherish the most.
My first game in Bangladesh against Zimbabwe. This was also the first game I had ever bowled spin. I got taught spin 6 weeks before we left for Bangladesh. So couldn't practise in domestic cricket either. It also was the first time I had could wear my jersey number (18). Which I now have tattooed on my back. It means the world to me.
11. There are a lot of men’s T20 leagues like the IPL, CPL, BPL, the Big Bash, etc which have been very successful recently. Do you think there is a need for a similar league for women?
Absolutely! Women's cricket is a different game, less big hits so you have to play more with your brain. I'm very glad that the ladies BBL has become a reality.
12. What do you feel is the future of Women's Cricket in your Country?
That's a difficult question as woman cricket over here is very very small. Mostly people just want to play T20 which is such a shame. I hope cricket here grows.
13. Who would you credit most for your success and why?
My parents, siblings, some coaches and my 2 team mates who are also my best friends. My family due to the support and due to acting like a taxi service for me. The coaches for believing in me and pushing me as I can be rather nervous with change. My 2 team mates due to pulling me through the times I thought I couldn't and always being there for the good the bad and the ugly.
14. Your advice to the youngsters taking up Cricket as a career?
Enjoy yourself! You'll have good games but you'll also have bad games.
Take it in and learn from it.
And never ever keep playing on an injury.
15. One thing that you want us (Global Cricket Community) to do for the Cricket Community and why?
Share the love of cricket. It's a community for everyone.