Babette de Leede
Babette is a 21-years-old wicket-keeper batter for the Dutch national team. She plays for the VCC in the Netherlands, and is currently studying econometrics.
What is your mindset when you go in to bat?
We have been training really hard this winter, especially focusing on hitting the ball very hard. That’s helped me a lot actually. So now I am really thinking about scoring fours instead of scoring just singles. I think that really is the key.
What has been your best innings so far?
In the Dutch competition it's my 97 against the former national champions Quick. It's been really good. I should have scored a hundred, but I got out unfortunately. And with the national team it was my first half-century against Ireland in 2019 in Deventer.
How did you get into cricket?
Well, cricket is part of my family. So, my grandpa - my dad's dad - used to play, and then his four sons played, and then my dad gave me a cricket bat as soon as I could walk! So, I was raised with cricket. But he never, my dad never forced me to play. I also played hockey, and he was fine with that too. So, no pressure!
What are your fondest memories of playing cricket for the Netherlands?
Well, definitely the tournament we won in Spain in 2019 - we won the Europe qualifiers. We beat Scotland and Germany and we qualified for the 50-over global qualifier and the T20 global qualifier. That was really amazing. And during that tournament I equalled Sarah Taylor's record for most victims in a three-country tournament so that was amazing.
Do you have any funny memories from playing cricket?
I mean being out there with the team is fun. Being on tour with the team is amazing, and I really miss that. I hope we can get back to international cricket really soon.
I think, just being with the team is so much fun.
Who are your best friends within the team?
My roomie Eva Lynch. We are always roomies. That's so much fun. She is 20, and I'm 21. She’s also studying in Rotterdam.
You’ve got an academic career as well studying econometrics. What is that like and how do you balance it alongside playing cricket?
Yeah, it's basically trying to come up with a model to forecast or explain, for example, why people buy certain things in shops. So for example, if something is at eye level, people are more likely to buy that thing... Or even in the stock market, you can forecast when prices are going to drop or increase. So, it's really, mathematical. I really like it though it’s been quite tough, quite challenging.
Unfortunately, my faculty doesn't really support me in playing cricket. So, I don't get any more re-sits, or if I miss exams during a tournament, then they won't do anything for me. So, it's been tough to combine. But, because of coronavirus and all the cancelled tours, I managed to get through my third and final year now. So, in a few weeks I will be done and I will take a gap year just to play cricket. I would like to go to Australia after they open up borders or otherwise South Africa to play a lot and train a lot. That's my plan now.
You were also part of the ICC Global Development Squad. What was that like?
It was amazing. It was so cool. I would love to do it again. It was in 2018. We went to England to play games against Surrey Stars, Loughborough Lightning and Western Storm. So, against internationals from England, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It was really cool. And I was only 18-years-old, and I only played two innings, but I scored 12 not out with a strike rate of 200 and 30 not out and it was really cool. To play against the top (players) is really something I would love to do again
Who did you look up to within that squad?
We played against Lizelle Lee, Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp, Heather Knight - really cool. And in the team, there was Kathryn Bryce, Sarah Bryce, Sterre Kalis, Heather Siegers, and we actually won three out of five (games). We lost two against Loughborough Lightning. So that was pretty good. I remember Gaby Lewis was there. She is playing quite well now against Scotland! Some girls from PNG were there too. It was amazing.
Did everybody live together? Did you get to know the girls well?
Yeah. So, first we played a tournament in the Netherlands - the global qualifier (T20) - and then very early the (next) morning we flew to England, and then we had a day of meeting each other before we had our first game. It was just one day before then we were playing against each other and then.... from one day to another we were playing with each other. It was pretty fun.
Who was the most memorable person from that tour for you from within your team?
Well, they were all very special to be fair. Maybe the fast bowler from PNG - I can't remember her name. Ravini Oa. I think she bowled really well that tour, took a lot of wickets. I think she impressed me most.
How did you get picked for it?
I was actually not selected. I was in the reserve list, but then the Bangladeshi girls didn’t manage to go because of their visa issues. I don't know exactly, but then I was allowed to go. I was so lucky.
What do you think the Netherlands team needs to do in order to achieve success, globally?
Yeah, we've been training really hard this winter. And COVID-19 obviously made things really difficult. But the KNCB made sure we could train almost all winter with Tim de Leede and James Hilditch. And then in March our new coach, Shane Dietz arrived and he provides even more opportunities to train. So, that is amazing. And again, he also made sure that we can play the games in the women's leagues in the Netherlands now because Corona here is really not gone yet. So, we're really happy we can play those games and hopefully we can return to international cricket soon.
And what are your personal goals for the year ahead?
With the national team we have the Europe qualifier (T20) in August, so we really want to win - beat Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and Turkey. And then in December, we have the 50-over global qualifier. That is going to be really cool. It's been postponed two or three times now. We're really looking forward to be there.
And then personally, I will finish my degree in a few weeks and I would like to take a gap year and play in Australia or in South Africa or New Zealand. And then, hopefully one day I'll play in England. That would be really cool. And with the help of my coaches and my sponsor, Gray Nicholls, I have high hopes that it will all work out and I will be a professional cricketer one day.
That would be awesome. So, is that the dream - to become a professional cricketer?
Yeah. I would love that!
You've said that your family have always played cricket. Who has been the biggest influence?
Well, my uncle Tim (de Leede) plays for the Netherlands. And he is my coach now - the assistant coach. So, he is an example for me. He teaches me cricket, and he's someone I look up to.