Hong Kong (April 1, 2023) – UAE players Esha Oza, Theertha Satish, Kavisha Kumari and Mahika Gaur have arrived in Hong Kong ahead of the second edition of the Gencor FairBreak Invitational tournament hoping to make an impact and show the world what Associate Players have to offer.

General Secretary Emirates Cricket Board Mubashshir Usmani says the girls have the board’s backing and believes tournaments like FairBreak will help raise the standard of the women’s game: “The FairBreak Invitational 2023 in Hong Kong is an exciting opportunity for women players. Four players from the UAE, Theertha Satish, Kavisha Kumari, Mahika Gaur and Esha Oza will take part in the tournament.

“The event provides a big opportunity for our players to play with and against some of the biggest stars of the game. We are confident that our players will perform well and enjoy the experience of playing cricket in Hong Kong.”

Usmani added: “The Emirates Cricket Board is fully committed to the growth of women’s cricket and our aim is to provide maximum opportunities to our players at the domestic and international stage as well as in the leagues around the world. Our best wishes are with the organisers, and we hope that through such events women cricket continues to grow.”

Warriors star Esha Oza recounts her FairBreak 2022 experience and her top learnings from the event, she said: “One of the main things I learnt was (about) dealing with pressure situations. (The other thing I learnt was) No matter where people come from you can always gel together. You are playing for one purpose, and it is so great to see everyone come together and fight for the same thing.”

“(Last season) We (Warriors) didn’t have a great start, but we ended the tournament with a win. Whenever we came back to the dressing room, it was very positive (atmosphere). The coaches always backed us and told us that we had done well. The message we got was that the win does not matter all the time. It is about the learnings and coming together. We didn’t start well, but we put our learnings together and we ended well (with a win).”

“I didn’t do so well in the Asia Cup (after the FairBreak tournament), and I still had people (from FairBreak team) messaging me to say it was ok and these things happen. Situations like that are not so easy to come out of, but when you have people backing you all the time, it makes it much better. So now I know the next time that happens (a poor run of form) I have people I can reach out to and talk to and do better after that.”

Esha added how FairBreak contributed to the UAE players getting recognition for their achievements. She said:As a sportsperson, and as Associate Players, we are getting a lot of fame (people know about us). Before this no one really knew about UAE cricket or that it was at a high level. The Under-19 girls went and played the Under-19 World Cup, and we also played the Asia Cup; all this happened after FairBreak, and that experience helped us go out and play at a higher level and this has taken UAE cricket and Associate cricket to the next level.”

Looking back at her first day as a FairBreaker Esha recounts a funny story from 2022: “On our first day, after we arrived, we were sitting in the the manager’s room and watching highlights of a West Indies-Australia game on TV. Theertha was with me. We were watching Stafanie Taylor bowl, and suddenly someone knocked on the door, we opened the door and she (Stafanie Taylor) walked in. We never expected something like that as Associate cricketers to be able to play with and share the field with them (Players from Test playing nations). All thanks to FairBreak this was possible.”

Esha echoes the team’s gratitude to the Emirates Cricket Board for their support: I would like to thank the ECB for allowing us to go and play in these tournaments. The ECB has been arranging bi-lateral series for us, and various competitions. It is because of our performances in those series, we are getting picked for these (tournaments like FairBreak) competitions. If not for ECB it would not have been possible.”

Theertha Satish who plays for 2022 FairBreak Invitational finalists, The Falcons, hopes her team can go a step better this time. Satish is ever grateful to her Falcons teammates for their support as she took on captaincy duties for the first time, at the Under-19 Women’s World Cup. The advice was precious says Satish: “This was the first time I was captaining a side (UAE Under-19 World Cup team) and the amount of learnings I had through chats with the captain (Falcons captain) and coaches (Falcons coaches), and the way they helped me deal with this task was incredible. I owe a lot to them. They also helped me be a much calmer person both on and off the field.”

Satish, who ended 2022 as one of the top run scorers in the women’s game, says she enjoyed the opportunity of sharing the dressing room and field with global superstars: “It was incredible, and I feel like I might have annoyed some of them (Test nation players at FairBreak Invitational 2022) as I was always asking questions. It is a very different experience, and there is no better way to learn.”

Kavisha Kumari who scored 696 runs in 2022, holds the record for most runs scored in Women’s T20 Internationals in a calendar year. The batter says the most important lesson FairBreak taught her was to believe in herself. The Barmy Army player said: “The stats speak for themselves about how successful a year I had in 2022; both how I played for UAE as well as at FairBreak.

“To sum it up, it was a dream come true to be a part of FairBreak and to play alongside international players. Because of those experiences I got that confidence in me to go out and perform in the UAE matches.”

“(After)The year I had in 2022, I want to do even better and get out of my comfort zone and set higher goals for my performances.”

Kumari added that during the first edition, there were plenty of doubters, who were unsure of how Associate players would fare in the tournament: “At the beginning (first FairBreak Invitational) there was self-doubt and questions on how the Associate players would perform (compared) with the international stars.

“The first edition though showed the world what Associate players have to offer. Obviously, now there are going to be eyes on each Associate player, and this helps us to step up our game.

Finally, player number four from the UAE is 17-year-old Mahika Gaur, who is already a force to reckon with as a left arm medium pace bowler. She represented the UAE at both the Asia Cup and the Under-19 World Cup. At the Under-19 World Cup she also ended as the UAE’s second highest run scorer. Gaur hopes to be a true all-rounder one day: “In the past year I have worked really hard on both my batting and bowling. Previously, I had been giving more emphasis to my bowling, but I want to be an all-rounder, so I think the Under-19 World Cup success was down to that.

“I have also learnt how important fitness is in this game. So, I have tried to get fitter, which I am sure has helped me in my bowling, because earlier I used to get tired after bowling 2-3 over spells as my stamina was low. I have gotten older and taller and that has also helped me with my pace.”

While Mahika was not part of the main action at FairBreak 2022, she was watching from the sidelines, and talks about some key differences she noticed in her teammates following their FairBreak experience: “I noticed a change in the way they (UAE girls) went about their game. They were in teams (at FairBreak Invitational 2022) with the best players in the world, and they got to see how relaxed the international players were, and how to approach a big target, or if you were unable to rotate the strike then how to approach that.

“So, I think it made them (UAE girls) think more about their own game, which was so helpful for the team, and they shared those experiences with us which as amazing.”

Looking ahead Gaur can’t wait to join the Spirit team and make her FairBreak debut: “I am so excited, and I honestly can’t wait (to join Team Spirit). People in my team are from literally all over the world. There are players from Test playing nations, and from Hong Kong and Thailand, so getting to share the dressing room with them will be amazing.”