Katie Perkins is an elite cricketer with the Auckland Hearts and played for New Zealand’s national team the White Ferns in 2012. When she’s not playing cricket, Katie works at New Zealand Rugby League as the Football Operations Officer, and is planning to become a policewoman.
Right Now: What inspired you to take up a career in cricket?
Katie Perkins: My family. Playing backyard cricket with my older cousins from as soon as I was big enough to hold a bat, I fell in love with the game. When I was five years old, I told mum I wanted to play at a club so she signed me up. To play cricket for New Zealand was always the goal, right from the very start.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
My debut match against Australia was very special. It was the day my biggest dream came true. What was so awesome about that game was how “ready” I felt when I walked out to bat, with the silver fern against my chest. The nerves had been there all day, but walking out to bat they faded and I knew I was where I was meant to be. It was probably one of the best moments of my life.
I would love to have the opportunity to train alongside her someday… just to get a taste of the intensity she takes to training and the values she lives by to succeed.
Which female sportspeople do you look up to?
My New Zealand captain Suzie Bates and New Zealand Kayaker Lisa Carrington who won gold at the 2012 Olympics in the K1 200m.
I feel privileged to be able to train and play alongside such a quality person and cricketer as Suzie. Her work ethic, her composed leadership, her ability to lead by example on and off the field, and her completely natural, fun loving attitude are all outstanding qualities of hers. I now not only train for the goal of playing for New Zealand, but to be a part of Suzie’s team and to give her the very best cricket performances that I can to help our team achieve its goals.
I look up to Lisa Carrington for many of the same reasons I look up to Suzie. Lisa is an Olympic Champion who would have had to sacrifice a lot and work incredibly hard to achieve the results she has. Competing in an individual sport is so tough, and for a long time she wouldn’t have had the support she is now receiving from High Performance Sport New Zealand. She is now reaping the rewards of her hard work and gaining a high profile in New Zealand, including sponsorship and funding. I would love to have the opportunity to train alongside her someday… just to get a taste of the intensity she takes to training and the values she lives by to succeed.
What I hope to see in the short term is that women’s sport begins to be taken just as seriously as men’s sport.
Women make up just nine per cent of all sports coverage in Australian TV news and current affairs. Why do you think women’s sport doesn’t enjoy broader coverage?
The reality is that men’s sport is generally “bigger, faster, stronger” which makes for a bit more excitement for the fans. Also, it is just a fact that more men are interested in sport, more men play sport, and therefore more men consume sport than females; so unless a female sport has a unique aspect to it, or a point of difference, a news item about a men’s match will generally trump that of a women’s match. Netball gets good coverage because it is a sport men don’t play, whereas with sports like cricket and football you won’t hear about anything lower than the women’s international teams, but you will hear plenty about the men’s domestic cricket competitions and football leagues.
Professionalism also plays a big part in the level of media attention the sport gets… so with very few women’s sports being at the professional level it is another reason there is less coverage of them.
The women’s side of sports can easily get forgotten about at the Board Meeting table when there is no female presence to remind males about it.
What do you see in the future for women’s sport and, in particular, women’s cricket?
I see a long road ahead for women’s sport to get to the level of recognition that our male counterparts receive; however what I hope to see in the short term is that women’s sport begins to be taken just as seriously as men’s sport, especially from an administration point of view. It would be great to see more time and resources supplied to women’s sport so that it can begin to grow and flourish like many men’s sports have because of the time and energy that has been given to them.
Within cricket I want to see New Zealand Cricket learn from the great advances Cricket Australia has made with its investment in the women’s game over the last couple of years… and I want Cricket Australia to keep going, keep investing, and setting a standard that other countries must follow if they want to be competitive in the years ahead. I want New Zealand Cricket to then act on what they see and learn from Cricket Australia and other national bodies around the world and take our game to a new level.
I also want to see the International Cricket Council (ICC) deliver on the ideas and plans they have to grow the women’s game around the world. We need to be playing more cricket, and we need to continue getting games televised around the world so that young girls interested in cricket can see what it is possible for them to aim for. More exposure of the women’s game will also help with exposure of players and as a result the opportunity for sponsorship and increased resourcing to help us become better cricketers.
For women’s sport globally there needs to be more women involved at the top of sporting organisation across the spectrum, sitting on Boards, being CEOs, and having top management positions. The women’s side of sports can easily get forgotten about at the Board Meeting table when there is no female presence to remind males about it. With more females working and leading in national sports organisations, funding bodies, clubs and government sporting agencies, women in sport will have a greater voice.