Alice Davidson-Richards believes the key to playing her best cricket is not taking herself too seriously.
The South-East Stars and Northern Superchargers all-rounder was belatedly called up to England’s Metro Bank ODI squad this week for the final two matches of the series with Sri Lanka as a replacement for the unwell Lauren Bell.
The 29-year-old all-rounder made a century on Test debut against South Africa last year and toured with the white-ball side to the West Indies over the winter but didn’t feature in the Women’s Ashes series earlier in the summer.
Davidson-Richards celebrated her latest call-up with a century for Stars against table-toppers The Blaze in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, the third time in her career she’s passed the landmark.
She believes such form is a reflection of her mindset being in a relaxed place, something which, despite a reputation for playing with a smile on her face, isn’t always the case.
“I play my best when I am having the most fun and in a relaxed frame of mind,” she said. “Sometimes when I’m not in the best place I take things a little bit too seriously. People watching might not see it, but coaches and players see it behind closed doors.”
Davidson-Richards attributes much of her current happy-go-lucky state to what is becoming her annual pilgrimage north to play for the Superchargers in the Hundred. The Kent-born ace took 10 wickets at 22 apiece in Superchargers’ purple, just one less than Aussie Star Georgia Wareham.
However, beyond the bare statistics, she feels the tournament promotes a sense of seeing the bigger picture and being able to laugh at yourself, even when everything isn’t going to plan.
“The most important thing for me about being involved with the Hundred is enjoying it as much as possible. Cricket is something you can take so seriously sometimes you forget the people who are watching.
“If you get hit for a few runs it’s all part of the game and means someone is enjoying it somewhere. It’s about remembering why you play the game and that’s for the enjoyment.”
For Davidson-Richards there is a lot to be said too for playing a month of cricket in a different location than usual, immersing yourself in another group of players with new perspectives on the game, creating an environment where you can be enriched and take ideas home with you.
Clearly, the chance to mix with England seamer Kate Cross, Aussie stars like Wareham and Superchargers skipper Hollie Armitage has refreshed Davidson-Richards ahead of the end of season push.
“I think it’s the environment at the Superchargers,” she said. “They back you to do whatever your best skill is and it was nice to have a slightly different leadership with Hollie (Armitage) and to experience that sort of thing. The Aussie players were a wonderful addition to the team and then to have someone like ‘Crossy’ who has been playing for so long and be able to talk to her about bowling and stuff. I enjoyed leaning into the team and their different strengths.
“I do love going up north. I love the people up there and the way they play cricket. It’s a month to see different humans, play with them and enjoy a different environment. It makes sure that I’m refreshed when coming back to Stars.”