It’s not everyday that you are inspired by someone that has pursued a sporting career at such a young age who also manages to maintain a healthy balance when it comes to playing for your country, family, friends and university studies.
At 25, Erin Osborne has achieved success through pursuing her passion for cricket, playing for NSW Lend Lease Breakers and the Australian Southern Stars.
Erin’s hard work, determination and sacrifices have taught her many life lessons that have led her to where she is today.
SO… whether you are a new fan to women’s cricket, admire the dedication of professional sports athletes, or have considered pursuing a sporting career, we take a closer look into what life is like for young female cricket player Erin Osborne.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How old were you when you started playing cricket?
I am from Tamworth and moved to Sydney when I was eighteen years old for cricket. I grew up in a family of five including two older brothers.
I am currently completing a Bachelor of Exercise Sport Science Clinical Physiology through the University of New England via correspondence and am hoping to complete my degree this year.
I play cricket for NSW Lend Lease Breakers and the Australian Southern Stars primarily as a right arm off spinner and bat middle to lower order.
My family loved sport and like many cricketers, I found a love for cricket in the backyard (The ‘OCG’ – Osborne Cricket Ground), which hosted many competitive Test matches with Sean, Troy and Dad. Luckily Mum had the final say and in many ways was the match official.
We had one rule for our backyard matches – ‘you break it, you pay for it’. I can happily say that the only person to break anything was Dad, he broke a window and his typical response was ‘if you bowl it short and wide (i.e. rubbish), it deserves to be hit hard through point’, which in this case was the window.
I played my first real cricket match when I was seven years old with the St. Edwards U9’s Cricket Team. Dad was coaching Troy’s cricket team and I was dragged along to watch, however they did not have enough players so I was asked to play. It is quite amazing that I continued to play after that year.
Dad always made Troy and I bat together, which was a big mistake. Troy and I would always argue and deliberately run each other out. I guess I continued to play as I knew the following year Troy had to move up the U10’s and I had a couple more years left in the U9’s.
My Mum and Dad were very supportive of my two brothers and my passion to participate and try to compete at the highest levels possible in soccer, tennis, touch football, rugby union, hockey, baseball and cricket.
Being from the country meant that there were a lot of hours spent in the car, however I believe that those hours were worth it and when I asked Mum and Dad, they [said they] would not change anything.
For example, I always wanted to play cricket for NSW and Australia. Every Sunday morning Mum and Dad would wake up around 4am and drive me to Sydney, which was about a five-hour drive so that I could play women’s cricket and be seen by selectors. That evening they would drive back and get home after midnight.
My parents did this for 23 weeks during summer for three years. I’m not sure how they did it.
Sean, my eldest brother, went on to play cricket for ACT Comets as a wicket-keeper/batsmen and Troy traveled to America on a Soccer College Scholarship for Wesleyan Iowa as a goalkeeper and also played for Chicago Fire in the Major League Soccer.
For those not familiar with your sport, what form of cricket do you play? Describe what a typical day in a week is like for you.
We mostly play T20 (Twenty20 cricket) and One Day (50 over) cricket. We have one off Test matches every couple of years against England.
A day usually involves some form of physical activity, whether a gym session or a run session. An individual cricket training session involving batting for an hour and bowling for 30 minutes and I might do some fielding practice.
Player appearances occur on regular basis, which may involve visiting schools, cricket carnivals and participating in media-related activities.
Outside of this, I go back home and complete study by listening and summarising weekly lectures for university online.
As a female cricketer, what are your dreams for the growth of cricket amongst young females?
I would like to see the game continue to develop to the point that females can be considered professional athletes and dedicate their time exclusively to cricket.
I believe that we are not far off and, with Cricket Australia’s continued support and encouragement from the public and various media outlets, I think this is achievable.
I would like to think we could promote women’s cricket to young girls as a pathway to a successful healthy career.
It would be fantastic to further develop player pathways available to girls to make the transition from a young schoolgirl cricketer to being the next NSW Lend Lease Breaker and Australian Southern Star readily available to all girls.
[And] to inform the girls and their parents of the wonderful opportunities already including financial assistance for further education, worldly experiences and the importance of a balance lifestyle.
I would love to get to the stage where women’s cricket is visible, players become household names and the game is as attractive to the sports fan as is the current men’s game.
What have been some highlights in your cricketing career?
There have been many highlights throughout my cricket career, starting with my school representation. The NSW Primary School Sport Association (PSSA) Cricket Team was the first acknowledgment that I could compete at a higher level and was motivation for me to continue with my dream to play for Australia.
Highlights from this point included receiving my Baggy Blue for NSW Lend Lease Breakers and — within the same season — receiving my call up to the Australian team.
Receiving my Baggy Green in England to play a test match for the Ashes is the pinnacle of my cricketing dreams, and is closely followed by three T20 World Cups and a One Day International World Cup.
What challenges have you faced within your sport?
Having to move away from family and friends shortly after completing school to the city was a big move for myself and something that I still struggle with today.
It is important to know that as with every sport at any level there are disappointments, such as selections. However from those experiences I have learnt resilience and have used those times as motivation and as a reminder to keep me grounded and empathise with current players going through those tough times.
Is there a particular sporting hero that you look up to? What qualities do you admire most about them?
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Lleyton Hewitt. When he burst onto the tennis scene I thought that he was arrogant and had a bit of talent.
However I watch him play today and think of him as a remarkable man who has overcome numerous injury setbacks to pursue his dreams.
What I admire most is his dedication to Australian Tennis and the fact that he puts Australia’s success, e.g. Davis Cup ahead of his individual glory. He’s a fighter.
What do you like to do during your downtime away from cricket?
Shopping, traveling and family.
What are the main lessons you have learned through pursuing your passion?
Many sacrifices have been made in pursuit of my dreams and setbacks can be overcome with a lot of work and determination.
What are your future hopes and dreams for women’s sport in Australia?
I hope that in years to come that female sport receives the same recognition and remuneration as our male counterparts.
What advice would you give girls and young women who are interested in pursuing sports professionally.
Be prepared to make sacrifices, to work hard, to not give up and know that it is all worthwhile.