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Interview with Laya Francis

The gutsy Laya Francis, a seam bowler who had played for Mumbai, West Zone, Western Railway, Indian Railways and India. Laya Francis shares her cricketing moments with’s Gargi Banerjee.

Gargi Banerjee : Laya when did you start playing cricket and why this game ?

Laya Francis : Well I started playing cricket in the year 1981. I used to see boys playing in my colony, so I thought why shouldn’t a girl like me play. So I thought of giving it a try plus I was a little tomboyish too.

Gargi Banerjee : Laya, what do you think about our playing days compared to that of these days?

Laya Francis : I feel our cricketing days were more tough and competitive. We were more professional. Don’t you feel the same?

Gargi Banerjee : Why did you stop playing cricket ?

Laya Francis : I am still very much fit to play cricket, but I guess the organization thinks differently.

Gargi Banerjee : Which team do you consider as the best team in women’s cricket and why ?

Laya Francis : Australia ! Their fitness level is much more higher and they play cricket more often.

Gargi Banerjee : What was your training like in your playing days?

Laya Francis : I used to go to the Gym at Nanavati (Mr Ali Irani) and also do knocking with boys.

Gargi Banerjee : How important do you think are former cricketers’ involvement in the Association?

Laya Francis : It’s always good to have the wisdom of the ex cricketers in the association. They all have been through whatever the players go through. And that I think is an advantage. It is nice to see some knowledgeable ex cricketers in the Association now and I wish them good luck.

Gargi Banejee : So did you enjoy playing for Indian Railways, India Women?

Laya Francis : Very much ! I really enjoyed playing for Western Railways, Indian Railways and of course for the Indian team! It was great playing with all stalwarts like Diana Eduljee, Shanta Rangaswamy and of course, Gargi Banerjee.

Gargi Banerjee : Tell me who will win the Women’s World Cup 2005 in South Africa according to you?

Laya Francis : You can’t judge any team at this moment. Cricket is such an unpredictable game, that is difficult to predict the winners. Did we think that West Indies would have won the Champions Trophy?

Gargi Banerjee : Last but not the least, how do you see women’s cricket in India in the next 5 years?

Laya Francis : Well! It’s a very difficult question to answer, hope we get more sponsorship, more media coverage to encourage women’s cricket, and we will be top like our male counterparts.

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