Sara McGlashan is a well-known face on the cricket circuit. Having first picked up a cricket bat aged seven, she has gone on to boast one of the longest-running and most successful careers of any White Fern representative.
With more than 200 international appearances for New Zealand under her belt, she is something of a record-breaker with the bat, with the ability to play anywhere in the top order, as well as being one of the game’s best fielders.
Her extensive international experience is hugely impressive and having recently returned from playing in England, she was the first to sign up for the new Skycity Hamilton NPL.
“It’s a great opportunity to play quality cricket and also a chance to try and help raise the profile of women’s cricket in New Zealand,” she says.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in Australia’s Big Bash and England’s Super League so it’s exciting there is another competition to be involved in.”
With cricket prowess running in the family, Sara beat her brother and fellow New Zealand international Peter McGlashan, to represent their country by four years when she made her debut in an ODI against the Netherlands in June 2002.
Fitness Journal catches up with Sara to find out more.
Name: Sara McGlashan
Sport: International cricketer
Career path: Currently a Sports Manager at Diocesan School for Girls (Auckland). They’ve been really supportive of me balancing work and cricket.
How did you become involved in the sport?
I went to a small country school and my older brother Pete played cricket there so I just wanted to do whatever he was doing. Once I started playing at about seven years old I guess you could say I was hooked as I’ve played ever since.
What’s coming up?
The NPL will be the first competition I’ll be getting stuck into, then I head to Aussie to play for the Sydney Sixers again in the WBBL.
What is your greatest success to date?
Playing at Lords in England is the pinnacle for most cricketers and was something I’ll never forget. The World Cup finals are highlights, along with making the final of the inaugural WBBL last summer.
What motivates you?
Cricket is a sport that continues to change and develop, therefore there’s always ongoing learning and growth, even for those of us who’ve been playing for a while.
Of late the opportunity to play in competitions in other countries has been really appealing and something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I never expected to travel the world playing cricket and being a semi-professional athlete.
What is your greatest challenge?
Cricket takes up so much time that you do spend a lot of time away from friends and family. The travel is exciting when you’re young but gets harder as you get older and your priorities change.
What does the sport involve in terms of training?
Physically it has been mainly endurance work in the past, due to the long duration of the game although recently cricketers are doing more and more power work. More time is spent in the gym and on the track these days than previously.
Skill-wise I work on my various batting shots and fielding. Things change slightly with whether its move innovative and attacking for T20 or slightly more conservative for one-dayers.
What gives you the most enjoyment?
Learning new skills, of course winning, and sitting in the shed enjoying the moment with my team mates. Travelling the world and making lifelong friends is also one of the main highlights.
What are your long-term goals?
I’m definitely in the twilight of my career so these aren’t sport-related. At the moment I just want to contribute to my team’s success in every game I play.
Was there a time when you thought of giving up and why?
Absolutely but not for any particular reason. There’s such a love-hate relationship with cricket due to the emotional roller coaster ride it takes you on, but at the end of the day you come back wanting to be a better player.
Where in the world do you want to train/compete?
I’ve been fortunate over the course of my international career that I’ve travelled to most countries that play cricket. That’s opened my eyes to so many new experiences.
As well as visiting all the well-known test-playing nations, I’d have to say some of my favourite experiences have been in countries where cricket is a minority sport.
Closing a suburban street in Japan for an exhibition match and playing cricket with Vanuatu locals dressed in traditional malmal (Vanuatu grass skirt/wrap) are experiences money can’t buy.
What other sports are you involved in?
Football, until I took the cricket path in my early 20s. I’ve played a few seasons of football in the National Women’s League, when cricket has allowed, and have really enjoyed the change of tempo (and teammates). With cricket we spend so much time together.
Who inspires you and why?
Anyone who sticks at things and continues to lift their expectations.
What advice would you give to others who want to play the sport?
Just give it a go and stick with it for a while as it takes time to master. It seems like a crazy technical game so don’t be put off. There are lots of little victories you’ll have along the way. When batting, “If in doubt, 6 or out.”
Name five things people would be surprised to know about you?
1) When I first left school I studied Early Childhood Education
2) I travelled to Dallas with the NZ Under 17 Football team
3) I had a full knee ACL reconstruction at 18 years old
4) I was in Cathedral Square when the spire came down in the Christchurch earthquake
5) My whakapapa includes Ngati Porou and Scottish heritage so I have dual passports ¡