Jessica Willathgamuwa is an Australian-born USA national cricketer who debuted last year for the USA senior team during the ICC Americas Regional Qualifier held in California. The 22-year-old college grad is a left-arm quickie who also bats left.
Jessica responded to a few questions posed by usacricketers.com earlier this week.
usacricketers.com: Who has been your biggest inspiration or role model in cricket, and why?
It changes every day, but my current role model is Laura Wolvaardt. I am a huge fan of her batting style and composure on the field.
usacricketers.com: Can you highlight a moment in your career that you consider a turning point or a significant achievement?
When I moved to the US, I had no interest in playing cricket. My true love for cricket began after being introduced to the American Cricket community. I would not be playing this sport if I hadn’t met those passionate cricketers whose love for the sport inspires me to keep playing and training.
usacricketers.com: What changes or improvements would you like to see in supporting and recognizing women’s cricket?
I would love for more major tournaments for women throughout the year. There have already been some great initiatives to host various Women’s Open Tournaments nationwide. It would be great to see more opportunities like this happening more frequently throughout the year and with the same advertising, funding, and support as other Men’s Cricket Open Tournaments.
usacricketers.com: Can you share a memorable team moment or bonding experience?
The most memorable moment I have so far with the team is our undefeated triumph in LA for the 2023 Americas Qualifiers. This was also special because it was my debut tournament, but it’s always a great feeling to be a part of a winning team.
usacricketers.com: Are there specific aspects of your training routine that you find particularly crucial for your performance?
Since it’s hard to practice with other teammates, I spend a lot of my practice time improving my technique, decision-making skills, and power. When I get the opportunity to train with other players, it’s always great to get feedback and fine-tune different aspects of my game.
usacricketers.com: How do you unwind or relax when not on the cricket field?
Off the field, I spend way too much time on TikTok. Other than that, I’m usually with my dogs or binge-watching Netflix shows.
usacricketers.com: What are your personal and team goals for the future regarding cricket achievements?
I aim to establish a strong base for women’s cricket in the United States. It would be fantastic if, one day, female cricketers in the US could choose cricket as a career choice. I have seen other current and past USA women cricketers continue to work hard to improve the female set-up in the country. I want to make a similar impact in making cricket a mainstream sport in the US.
usacricketers.com: Do you follow specific strategies or routines to maintain your well-being during busy cricket seasons?
It has been challenging managing cricket and work. Sometimes, it feels like there need to be more hours in the day to work on skills, fitness, and recovery. Effectively planning my time has been crucial. Every day, I try to schedule a time to work on something cricket-specific. Just keep training and playing. Rejection and bad games are a challenging part of the cricketing experience. Still, they are also the source of the best lessons.
usacricketers.com: As a current member of the USA Cricket squad, how would you describe the camaraderie and team spirit among the players?
The USA team is full of life. The squad has many personalities, but we all seem to gel effortlessly. The team spirit, both on and off the field, is high energy. Whether cheering after the fall of a wicket or sitting in a hotel lobby to study and work, the team always has a positive vibe.
usacricketers.com: How do you see the future of women’s cricket evolving in the USA, and what role do you hope to play?
I firmly believe the USA Women’s Cricket Team will one day play in an ICC World Cup event. The young girls who are just learning the game now are already very talented and will be a strong force when they are representing our country. I want to be a supporting figure for these future stars like my family and mentors have been for me.