We recently caught up with Lydia Dimba from Malawi who has returned to the game after having children. She discusses the challenges of balancing cricket with motherhood and the importance of having a supportive family.
"My family has been supportive to me from the very moment I started cricket. They have been one of my encouragements and motivation to come back into cricket after the maternity break."
What is your cricket background? How did you start playing cricket?
I was introduced to cricket by my sister Phalese in 2014 at Saint Andrews International High School, and at that time the girls were playing in the Bakeman’s Lioness Cup.
Gershom Ntambalika was the coach who taught me the basics of batting and bowling. In my first game, I bowled one over and managed to get two wickets. My first international tournament was in Botswana at the 8 nations ladies cricket tournament in 2015. In one of the matches at the tournament, I was named player of the match.
What are the challenges for Malawi Women’s Cricket?
With many girls dropping out of cricket due to early marriages or having to work, the team loses a lot of good players in the process. Some parents withdraw their children from cricket because they don’t see a living in sports for women. Other players go to netball and football because it is more popular - particularly netball where Malawi are ranked 6th in the world.
What else do you do besides cricket?
I am the mother of two boys and I depend on the support of my husband. I am excited to return to cricket once sporting activities resume in Malawi.
Why do you enjoy playing cricket? What do you love most about playing in a team?
I love playing in a team because of the spirit of togetherness that the game of cricket brings, the sportsmanship and the feeling of being loved by your team mates.
"I feel it’s the most precious thing to represent my country. I want to use this opportunity to be a good example to other female players who wish to play for the country. For me this is the best opportunity to encourage and motivate other female players."
What is your funniest cricketing memory?
I recall back at the tournament in Botswana, we were put into different teams with other national team players and we played funny cricket games. And the dinner dance afterwards was the best moment thanks to our team doctor (Ben Gwilliam) who had funny dance moves. My favourite moment was being chosen as the player of the match in one of the games at the tournament.
How do you balance being a mother with playing cricket?
I have set up my schedule and make sure I always have time available for playing cricket. Now that the kids are older they go to nursery school and that makes it possible to have time for cricket. My family have also been supportive to me whenever I need them.
Who is your cricketing idol?
Kagiso Rabada is the player I look up to in every day. He is my motivation when I train and I wish and always work hard aiming that one day I will reach his level.
Are your family supportive of you playing cricket?
My family has been supportive to me from the very moment I started cricket. They have been one of my encouragements and motivation to come back into cricket after the maternity break.
What are the biggest challenges for you?
Being a mother there are some times that needs attention which will leave you with no time for cricket. I feel I have big job to get my form back and with the Covid 19 pandemic, we haven’t been able to train for a year now.