Mahika Gaur made her debut playing for the UAE at the age of 12 and is a promising young bowler. We caught up with her earlier this week.
How did you start playing cricket?
When I was around five or six we were in India and we went to watch an IPL game between Rajasthan and Delhi. Now, as most people would know, cricket is massive in India and the atmosphere in the stadium just stuck with me and it made me so curious about the sport. Then when we got back home to England I continued to watch IPL on the TV and I continued to watch the matches. And one day I was just trying to copy one of the bowlers’ actions. My dad saw that I was rotating my arm properly and rolling my arm fully so he went and he bought a bat and that’s just how it started really, cricket outside with my dad which I think almost every cricketer can relate to.
Tell us a bit about your experience playing for the UAE team, tournaments you’ve played where you’ve represented UAE.
So it was a great experience because I had never previously stayed with the team and then played matches with them. Being in the team environment 24/7 was incredible and it definitely contributed to the outcome of our matches as we all work well together. I also learnt how players need to adapt to be able to suit other conditions, such as weather conditions or pitch conditions. They also need to adapt depending on the level of cricket that they are playing at - I have definitely learnt so so much from those tours and I’m excited for the ones that are going to happen this year.
What are a couple of your best cricketing memories?
In January and February of 2019 I played the Thailand T20 Smash and the ICC Women's Qualifiers which was also in Thailand. It was surreal and I was so grateful to get that opportunity and I tried to make the most of it. I played 3 matches in total across both tours and it was amazing because I also got my first international wicket.
Getting selected for UAE was huge and I remember getting my cap in Thailand. Even as a 12 year old it meant so much to me and I was just determined to perform really well and to continue playing cricket later and continue putting in hard work. Another great memory is when I bowled to Brain Lara. He was a chief guest in our academy’s open day and I got to bowl two balls to him which was absolutely incredible and it still blows my mind.
Finally, what’s it like to be one of the youngest players on the team?
Whenever I go to practice sessions or matches without a coach I learn so much because my seniors are there. I have had the opportunity to watch them play in pressure scenarios and because of their experience they know exactly what to do and they know what to do in specific scenarios - I have definitely learned so much and it’s great being one of the youngest players in the team.