‘Pretty cool’ to visit former school, Carson says

White Ferns cricketer Eden Carson went back to school yesterday.

Carson and team-mates Georgia Plimmer and Fran Jonas made an appearance at St Hilda’s Collegiate, helping more than 50 year 7 and 8 pupils with some basic skills.

It led to the pupils throwing down the wickets, smashing the ball around the gymnasium and running all over the place.

Carson, a former St Hilda’s Collegiate pupil, said it was good being back at the school.

"It’s pretty cool. I haven't been back for a couple of years, but I try to give back as much as I can.

"I always wanted to play cricket for New Zealand — I didn't always think it would happen to be honest."

It was not until a coach encouraged her, at age 16, to switch her bowling style from medium-pace to off-break that her career really took off, she said.

Today's match against Pakistan will hold extra significance as the Otago Uni Oval will be renamed Suzie Bates Oval in honour of the first White Fern to play 300 matches.

Carson said it was watching players such as Bates that inspired her to continue with her cricket.

"She showed that you could get out there and succeed regardless of where you came from."

White Ferns cricketer Eden Carson shows off her skills at St Hilda’s Collegiate yesterday. PHOTO:...
White Ferns cricketer Eden Carson shows off her skills at St Hilda’s Collegiate yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH.
The White Ferns lost to Pakistan in Sunday’s T20 match, and Carson said there were several lessons they could take from it.

"I guess we need to take a leaf out of their book. We need to bat positively and look to use more variations when bowling," she said.

It could be quite difficult for young women to get into cricket, especially with the popularity of netball, but Carson encouraged people to take as many opportunities as they could.

Skills games were a good way to get as many people involved in cricket as possible in a way that was not boring, she said.

New Zealand Cricket head of female engagement Jess Davidson said it was "awesome" players like Carson could give back to their former school.

"We want young women to see there are so many opportunities in cricket."

Ms Davidson said the "Smash Play" form of training was designed to be fast-paced and accessible for all skills.

"We’d spoken to coaches and teachers around the country and they all said innovation was the key."