ICC Cricket | Maeva Douma was thrown into the cricket world’s spotlight this week. Her performance for Cameroon against Uganda in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers, supported by Dream11, led to global media coverage.
The 16-year old fast bowler effected the run-outs of four batters — Kevin Awino, Rita Musamali, Immaculate Nakisuuyi and Janet Mbabazi — at the non-striker’s end in the match in Botswana.
Uganda went on to score 190/6 in their innings before Cameroon were bowled out for 35.
Despite generating a lot of conversation and becoming a trending topic on social media, Douma has no regrets, with the dismissal completely legal and within the laws of the game.
The dismissals were not pre-planned, she said, adding that it occurred to her to exploit the tactic after watching the Ugandan batters stepping out of the crease repeatedly before deliveries.
“When I got into the tournament, I did not really focus on using it as a tactic,” she told the ICC. “But as the game was going on, I realised that the batters were hardly in their base, and thought, ‘Why shouldn’t I use this opportunity’ to get the players out? It wasn’t really a strategy, but I saw it as an opening.”
The mode of dismissal has divided the cricket world over the years. It’s a legal method to dismiss an erring batter, but it has been scoffed at by some quarters, with the dismissal being deemed against the spirit of the game. Douma is firmly in the camp of the former.
“I think it is a good tactic to use, especially if you have an opponent such as that and it is difficult to get the batter on strike out. If you can see that the non-striker can be eliminated through that, then it is a beautiful opportunity to use.”
Her teammates backed her too.
“We got to talk about it as a team, since we saw the opening and we had to discuss it, especially after the first one (first run-out),” she said. “So we saw that if we had more opportunities, then that’s what we are going to use throughout the game. And as a team, I got a lot of encouragement.”
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Her journey through the years
Maeva is only beginning her journey as an international cricketer. An all-rounder by trade, she has taken great strides in her career so far, impressing with her maturity and composure.
“I saw people playing cricket where I live and approached them,” she said, when asked how her journey began.
“I then got into a cricket club back in my country. Even in school, they used to play cricket, so I really loved the sport and continued practising, and here I am right now.”
Her story follows the path of many aspiring cricketers in Cameroon, a country in which the sport is slowly, but steadily, gaining a lot of traction.
“Cricket is becoming more and more popular in Cameroon,” she said. “Not only that but equally in the schools where the sport is being practised. We also have the beautiful opportunity where we are participating in the T20 over here (ICC T20 World Cup Africa Region Qualifier), which is seen all over the world. So it is gaining more and more popularity.”
Douma also believes the tournament in Botswana is a big opportunity for her, as well as the whole team, to improve their skills.
“Participating in a tournament like this does not only make me proud of representing my country but equally, I get to learn a lot,” she said.
“As the game was going on, I realised that the batters were hardly in their base, and thought, ‘Why shouldn’t I use this opportunity?'”
“The pitches, the fields that we are playing in, the pre-game practice. We also get to gain a lot of experience from playing against teams that have been playing for years. So I have really learnt a lot and continue to from the matches that I am playing in.”
On her personal development, Douma views herself primarily as a bowler but is determined to up her game in the batting department. “Between batting and bowling, I really, really love bowling more. Because that’s the first thing I picked up while playing cricket. As much as I love bowling, I do aspire to perfect myself as a batter.”
Ambitious by nature, Douma has set some high targets for herself moving ahead.
“I dream of becoming a much better player, not only for my national team but also in professional teams outside,” she said. “I look forward to working towards that and bettering my game so that I can attain my dreams.”