Monday, March 26, 2007

By George...

Listen to Nadine's interview here - podcast 7.

Nadine George is still the only player to have scored a century in any form of the game for the West Indies when she bludgeoned 118 on her Test debut in Karachi thirteen years ago. "That's definitely been the highlight of my career to date and I just hope I can go and break more records in the future," she says.

Thanks to her success with the West Indies, she was awarded the MBE by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2005 after being recommended by Professor Hilary Beckles, a prominent lecturer and historian on West Indies cricket.

Darren Sammy may be the only recognised sportsman on the island, while Brian Lara's mother was born in St Lucia but George is known throughout the Caribbean region – mainly for her power hitting as an opening batsman.

That she holds down a job with the St Lucian Marine Police also pays testament to her tough approach to cricket. "I have five brothers as well," she admits. "All these aspects have made a difference to my game."

She started her professional career in 1988 and has since been promoted to Sergeant in charge of operations where her day-to-day tasks include patrolling the island's seas. And it gets better: she is also Master of an 80ft coastal vessel. "We are mainly tasked with drug intervention coming up from South America and the chain of Caribbean islands," says George, who recently completed her first search and rescue, 26 nautical miles off the St Lucia coastline.

On the pitch, it was in Jamaica during the Nineties that opponents really took notice of George. An opposition bowler came on for her first over and was smashed for four consecutive boundaries. The bowler then knelt down in the middle of the wicket as the game was halted for a while.

Four years later in an ICC qualifying tournament in Holland she was still unaware of what had happened that day. After scoring a duck, one of the coaches came out of the pavilion and asked: "why is it that you can make bowlers cry and still manage nought?" George thought that the bowler had been ill but in reality it was the way George had treated her bowling.

Although she has her place beside the famous three W's (Walcott, Worrell and Weekes) at the walk of fame in Barbados, she still has visions of scoring an ODI century "and then looking forward to going for a world Test record score." Lara achieved that mark and you wouldn’t bet against George doing the same.