Cricket is very much in the forefront these days with the men’s Australian cricket team competing in our various islands. Not to be overshadowed, our women cricketers have been doing us very proud on the regional and international levels. This series featured T&T’s and West Indies’ captain Merissa Aguillera in an earlier instalment. Today, we get personal with another of our cricketing stars, Anisa Mohammed.Locally, regionally and internationally T&T’s 23-year-old Anisa Mohammed has been mesmerising fellow women cricketers with her beguiling right hand off-spin bowling for many a year. Since 2003 she has been the Trinidad and Tobago’s Women’s Cricketer of the Year for an unprecedented six times as well as the nominee in those years for the First Citizens Sportswoman of the Year award. A regular member of the T&T and West Indies squads since 2003, she holds many records on the world stage including:
• “Best Figures in an innings by a Captain” in T20 International (Male/Female) (4-9 in 3.2overs),
• “Most Four Wickets hauls in an innings in a career” in T20 International (5),
• Currently the only person in the world with “Consecutive Four Wickets hauls in an innings” in T20 internationals (4-26 and 4-9),
Anisa has represented the West Indies women’s cricket team in the 2005 and 2009 World Cup/ODI, in the 2009 and 2010 World T20, and in ODI series against India, Pakistan, Ireland, Holland, England, Sri Lanka and South Africa. She is a qualified Level 1 WICB coach. In 2010 her national team was awarded the Humming Bird Silver medal for their continued excellence in the sport. Locally she is the captain of her team, MAAAD, which she loves telling the story stands for Melissa, Alisa, Alison, Anisa and Danny…“Melissa is the president’s sister-in-law, Alisa is my sister, Alison is my mother’s cousin who is the president, Anisa of course is me, and Danny is the manager.” A recent car accident in which she sustained minor injuries did not prevent her from taking part in the Windies training camp in Barbados.
Q: When, where and against whom did you play your first game for T&T and for the West Indies?
A: I played my first game for T&T in 2003 in Grenada against Grenada. I played my first game for the West Indies in 2003 in Holland against Japan.
What else would you be if you weren’t a cricketer?
I would probably be a physical education teacher.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born at the Sangre Grande Hospital and I grew up at Maraj Hill, Coalmine. Do you know where that is (smiling)? It’s a small village near Sangre Grande.
Who were the people who have influenced you the most (both inside and outside of your immediate family as applicable), in your career and in life in general, and how did they?
All the members of my family and close friends have always been extremely supportive. I was introduced to the game through my parents who both played the game at club level.
Tell us about your inspiration to do what you do. What would you say and what advice would you give to anyone hoping to play the sport at your level?
Cricket allows me to represent 1.3 million people in Trinidad and Tobago and millions of others in the West Indies. This inspires me to always do my best—If you have the talent you must have the drive and discipline.
Who was your hero growing up and why? And who do you admire most today?
Hmmm, former Australian captain Steve Waugh. He was such a good all rounder, a fighter and an inspirational captain. Today, former West Indies and Trinidad Captain Stephanie Power. She possesses leadership qualities; she is always willing to learn; open to others’ opinion; and takes advice from others.
At what schools/institutions did you receive your education?
Primary school—Sangre Grande Hindu School; Secondary—SWAHA Hindu College; Tertiary—School of Continuing Studies.
What is your most memorable cricketing performance?
Seven wickets for 14 runs against Pakistan in the finals of the World Cup qualifier. That game determined our ranking and who we would play in the 2013 World Cup.
What was your first job and is cricket your full time job now? If not what else do you do for a living?
My first job was teaching. I was a primary school teacher for approximately eight months. After that I became a full time cricketer since I am a contract player with the WIBC.
If you had to interview someone from Trinidad and Tobago who you did not know and had to ask just one question, who would it be and what would be the one question?
Anya Ayoung Chee and I would ask her what motivates her.
What advice would you give to the young people of Trinidad and Tobago?
Consistency is very important whether you are in academia or sports. Go after your dreams and believe that nothing is impossible.
What daily motto/credo do you live by and in three words, your recipe for success?
Live, love, laugh.
What is your greatest accomplishment in cricket?
Being the first West Indian to claim 50 wickets in both ODI and T20 matches.
When and how did you get into playing cricket?
Both my parents were involved in cricket, therefore from a young age my sister and I were exposed to the sport.
Who is your favourite athlete outside of cricket?
I really like and admire Rafael Nadal, the tennis player. He is so focused and determined, kinda like me! (laughing)
Any other sportspersons in your family?
My twin sister, Alisa and my twin brothers Ashmeed and Ashmeer.
Of all your accolades, prizes and awards which do you rate as extremely special?
Being named one of the ten top athletes of Trinidad and Tobago.
What goals and or ambitions do you still have?
To be the number one bowler in the world.
What is your favourite pastime/hobby outside of cricket?
Spending time with friends and family, tables tennis and playing cards.
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you plan to do after your cricket playing days are over?
Start my own business; have not decided what it’s going to be as yet.
Being in the public eye what would you like people to know about you that they probably don’t know or are probably misinformed about….ie what do people generally not know about you?
I am a shopaholic (laughing out).