Abbi Aitken is the Captain of Scotland Women’s National Cricket team and has recently led her team to Semi-Finals in Women’s world Cup Qualifiers.  Abbi got in touch with cricket at the age of 11 and she soon picked up the game because of her love for Sports. Abbi made her Scotland debut at 14 and always dreamt of leading the Scotland Team. She lived the honor of having 100 Caps for Scotland during the qualifiers, a moment which she would always cherish. Abbi, who was also a keen footballer chose Cricket and continued it further.  In the Interview, Abbi talks about Scotland Women’s Cricket and is happy with the progress Women’s Cricket has seen in the recent times. She also feels that having League for Women’s will strengthen the community and will widely impact in the development of their game. You can follow her on Twitter and know more about Scotland’s Women Cricket here: @AbbiAitken

1. Tell us about yourself?Abbi Aitken - Scotland Women's National Cricket Team

Full Name : Abbi Aitken
Date of Birth : 11/04/1991
Playing Role : Opening bowler
Batting Style : RH Middle to Low order
Bowling Style : RH Medium Pace
Contact Number :
Country : Scotland
Twitter Handle : @AbbiAitken

2. What age did you start playing Cricket? How did you get in touch with the game?
I started playing cricket at around 11 years old. I was first introduced to the sport when a local cricket coach delivered a session at my school. My talent was spotted and I was asked along to the junior section at my first cricket club, Montrose CC. And I’ve never looked back…

Abbi Aitken - Captain of Scotland Women's National Cricket Team3. Who were your cricketing heroes whilst growing up?
Unfortunately, I was not brought up in a cricketing environment. No members of my family follow or play the sport. Whilst growing up, I guess I wasn’t exposed to a lot of cricket such as most of my team mates. I have however always loved sport from a very young age. So whilst I may not have a specific cricketing hero, I feel my passion for all sports and idolisation of numerous sporting greats has helped fuel the passion I have for my own sport.

4. Was your family supportive when you started off with Cricket? Was it ever hard for you to convince them?
As I mentioned previously, cricket didn’t form any part of my family life. Most of my team mates have a Dad/brother/uncle or the likes who introduced them to the sport. However my family have always been extremely supportive of my involvement in any sport. Growing up I played Football and Cricket competitively. I cannot question my Mum’s support in pushing me to succeed and enjoy what I do. I can’t thank her enough for everything - it took up a lot of her time driving me all over the country to matches and training, as well as the financial commitment that comes with it.

5. What do you enjoy the most on the field? Is it lofting the ball over boundaries, or breaking stumps or fielding?
I have always been a bowler. There is no better feeling than seeing the batsman’s confused and disappointed expression as those bails fly into the air!
Whilst every cricketer has their area of expertise – all of us have to field, and I love it! Being able to constantly challenge yourself and the demands of having to mentally switch off and on between overs for relatively long periods of time is a huge skill that comes with practice and experience. My advice to any cricketer who doesn't enjoy their time in the field – practice, practice, practice, until you love it!

6. If not Cricket, where else would you have landed up in your Career?
Unfortunately Cricket is not my career. I would be delighted if I could say that my job was a full-time professional cricketer, but right now that is not the reality. Who knows, maybe one day.
I graduated last year with a BA(Hons) degree in Events Management from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. I am now currently working in a full-time position for the Scottish Sports Association. There’s no hiding the fact that balancing your working life with your cricketing commitments is a real struggle and it takes a lot of commitment. Motivating yourself to get the early gym sessions in, or having to use your annual leave to travel to cricket matches or training camps is not always easy – but I would not do it, if I did not love it!

7. Where do you and your team see yourself in coming 5 years? Where do you want to focus in order to improve your cricket?Scotland Women's National Cricket Team
In comparison to other nations around the world, women’s cricket in Scotland is still relatively new. Over the past 5 years the number of females playing the game in Scotland has significantly increased which is great to see, and hopefully long may that continue. Similarly our national squad has gone from strength to strength. I am very happy with the steps that women’s cricket in Scotland has taken over the past 5 years, and if in the next 5 years I can look back and see that we’re still heading in the same direction at the same pace, I’ll be happy.

8. What would be that one goal of your life to achieve as a Cricketer?
If Scotland qualified to compete at a Cricket World Cup, I could live the rest of my life a happy lady! To have that opportunity on the global stage would be an invaluable experience.

9. Which do you feel has been the biggest highlight of your sporting career so far? Any achievements or rewards that you cherish the most.
The biggest highlight of my cricketing career so far would be every single time I pull on the Scotland shirt and lead my country out on the field – cheesy I know, but true!
I’ve always thought that reaching 100 caps for Scotland would be an incredible achievement. I am now in the mid 90’s and hope to reach the momentous 100 during the upcoming T20 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in Thailand in November this year. If that happens, I’m sure it’ll be a pretty special moment that I’ll cherish for many years to come.

10. 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?
Yes, and there is one. In a few months time we will see the launch of the Women’s Big Bash in Australia. This is an incredibly exciting time for women’s cricket and the investment shown into the female game has been significant. Excitingly for us [Scotland], the ICC have also launched a ‘Rookie Programme’ that could potentially give 8 of the best Associate and Affiliate female cricketers the chance to join up with one of the franchises in December for a two week period. This would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and an invaluable experience; being able to learn from and train with some of the best female cricketers in the world.

Abbi Aitken - Scotland Women's National Cricket Team11. What do you feel is the future of Women's Cricket in your Country?
Over recent years, Cricket Scotland have shown improved investment in the Women’s game and this looks like it will continue. This support and backing has been crucial in order to continue to grow and popularise the female game in Scotland. I really believe it is exciting times and the future looks bright!

12. Who would you credit most for your success and why?
My mum for pushing/supporting/cheering/empathising/commiserating/nursing/caring and motivating me – to name a few!
And ultimately my team mates – these girls are the people who challenge you the most and push you to reach your goals. We strive for and share success when it comes. It’s important to surround yourself with good people who share your vision.

13. Your advice to the youngsters taking up Cricket as a career?
Always make sure you love what you’re doing and that you’re doing it for no one but yourself. Success only comes to those who work hard for it. Chase your dreams and never give up!

14. One thing that you want us (Global Cricket Community) to do for the Cricket Community and why?
Help promote the ever-growing women’s game, giving it fair attention, promotion and coverage that it rightly deserves.

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