We recently caught up with the Captain of the French team, Emanuelle Brelivet, prior to
the France vs. Germany bilateral tournament in July.
Can you tell us about the (domestic) tournament you have going on - La Coupe de France?
Last Saturday and Sunday, we played the game for La Coupe de France. So, it's a championship. We will have three weekends in the summer. Last Saturday and Sunday, we played against Lille. It's a club in the North of France and Paris. My club is Nantes, which is in the West of France.
Do you have a tournament coming up with Germany?
Yes, exactly. We are leaving on Wednesday for Germany. We are in Dreux at the moment to practice and prepare for the tournament.
We are really looking forward to going and play there because the last time we played against Germany, was in 2016.
Can you just tell us a bit about yourself, sort of how you got into cricket? What else do you do apart from cricket?
I'm 35 years old. I am a Math teacher and I started to play cricket eight years ago when I moved in Nantes. I arrived in this new city for me. I didn't know anyone in the city and I met this girl Céline Bernardon. And first thing she was saying to me was “I'm playing cricket. Look at this, it is very interesting.”
I didn't know anything about cricket and she was so enthusiastic about this and she was always asking me to come to training. So finally, because I’m really fond of sports, I said, okay, let's go and try and it was my first training of cricket and I really enjoy the spirit of the game. It's the first time I was playing a collective [team] sport and I did lots of individual sport and it was really new for me to share this with the team. And since I was arriving in a new city, it was so good to meet the girls.
Cricket is not the most popular sport in France. What are your thoughts on that?
Now it’s become a little bit more known because we are speaking so much to our family, to our friends but yeah, when you say first you are playing cricket, everybody's like, “what is it?”. The thing is also that it's so complicated. The rules are so complicated. But finally people come and see the game and enjoy too. And we are also trying to develop a lot in school with kids and kids really enjoy the sport because it's so simple to play. You don't even need wicket, you can have anything: a bat and ball and you can play. So we are really trying to get to be more in school with young people.
And what is the current setup now for the national team? Do you have a full-time coach or physio? What does that look like?
We have several coaches. We have one director and coaches in different parts of France. Every week we have a training session for the French national team in every part of France. And we have a once per month like we are all together.
We had also someone doing a fitness class, especially during the confinement COVID period. We were doing sport on zoom every Tuesday. And we also have lots of personal training- running, fitness, cardio, exercise with the bat at home with the ball.
Where do you see the French team going? What are some of your short-term and long-term goals for the team?
Yeah, a short term [goal] is for all the players already very involved in cricket to increase their level and also we want to have new players so we can build something strong. Now we are really focusing on the tournament with Germany and the tournament- ICC tournament, by the end of August in La Manga. So, this is really the short term. We want to fight to give our best and then to continue to improve. For us, it’s really a new beginning. We have a new director who is giving lots of energy, trusting us, giving also lots of things to play like, equipment, time, coaches. So yeah, I think we are really on the good way to progress a lot.
The big tournament this year is the Regional Qualifiers. What are your thoughts on the change of location to Spain?
We are fine with both but in the west part of France, we are really used to rain. So, Scotland was okay for us and Spain - we will be ready also to be prepared for hot weather. It will be really different condition. Especially also for bowling like effect on the ball and the same for the pitch. But maybe we have less risk of having games cancelled if it's Spain. Scotland - even in summer, it could be so rainy. So we feel more comfortable about having a show and having good weather to play cricket.
Rapid Fire Round:
Who is your all-time sporting hero?
Favorite holiday destination?
Brittany – my family.
Best moment on the cricket field so far?
When we win the tournament in 2019 in Nantes. Yeah. The celebration. Yeah. It was really huge.
What is your favorite meal?
Who is your messiest teammate?
Sabine (Lieury) - she's one of my best friends. Uh, but she's really messy.
A cricket record that you wish you held?
Yes. It’s to do a run out from the boundary like throwing direct hit the wicket.
If you had a superpower, what would that superpower be?
Reading people’s minds.
And apart from cricket, what else do you enjoy doing. Your favorite hobby?
My favorite hobby. Maybe swimming. I love to be close to the sea and to swim.
If there was one rule you could change in cricket, what would you change?
It's not possible to be out on the first ball. You have a second life. So no golden duck!