The 2000 Women’s Cricket World Cup saw New Zealand pick up their first (and to date, only) title. Haidee Tiffen was just beginning her career at that tournament, and picked up where the stalwarts like Debbie Hockley and Catherine Campbell put down.
She became a key figure in the batting order (scoring nearly 3000 runs), captained the side after Emily Drumm and Maia Lewis, and is now the side’s head coach. She talks to Mind the Windows about playing for New Zealand, getting the yips, and goals for next year’s World Cup.
1. As well as cricket, you’ve played rugby and hockey to a representative standard – so given your natural aptitude for sport, what was it that eventually made you persist with cricket?
I do love all sport and tried my hand at most sports at school. Cricket was a real passion of mine ever since I was little, and my rise in cricket was quite quick from when I left high school so I decided to dedicate all my time to the sport. When I first made the WHITE FERNS we were two years out from a World Cup so really wanted to commit to making that team.
2. When you first came into the NZ side, you were very much an all-rounder (between 1999-00 and 2002 you took 44 wickets out of an eventual 49), but effectively didn’t bowl after the ’02 tri-series. Why did you end up focusing on your batting so much more?
I really enjoyed being an all-rounder for the side and loved being involved in all aspects of the game. I got the ‘yips’ with my bowling so really suffered psychologically and even though I had support I never fully recovered so focussed on my batting.
3. You only ended up with one century in your international career, in your penultimate appearance. It must have been nice to get that monkey off your back, even if it was so late in the piece?
Yes, it was nice. I loved contributing to the team in whatever way I could. My role was to score runs for the team so yes it was disappointing I could not contribute more big scores for the team.
4. You’ve now spent a bit of time as the White Ferns head coach – given your previous coaching roles have been as an assistant coach, how have you enjoyed the transition? One of the major changes often noted is that the head coach doesn’t focus as much on the technical side of things, but focuses on keeping the ship smooth and managing personalities. Is this something you’ve found?
I feel very privileged to be a part of the WHITE FERNS again and I am really enjoying working with a great bunch of people from players to support staff. In our support staff we have a batting and bowling coach that take care of the technical aspects with my support and I do really keep the ship running smoothly. I am big on culture and creating a learning environment where we are all heading in the same direction and supporting each other to improve. A big part of the job is supporting players to fulfil their dreams.
5. With the advent of T20 leagues around the world like the WBBL and Kia Super League, do you think this has a net positive or negative effect on the women’s game?
This is a real positive for the women’s game. It is fantastic that our WHITE FERNS have the opportunity to play in these leagues not only from a financial aspect but also from a playing aspect. This will help our players get better, they are playing under pressure and alongside some of the best players in the world where they can continue to learn. I see these opportunities as a fantastic way to expose the women’s game and showcase the amazing talent we have in the world to the public.
6. World Cup next year: what are your aims and expectations for the tournament?
We are really excited about the World Cup next year. We are aiming to win the tournament. The team are training really hard. We have nine players over in the UK playing. Six playing in the Kia Super League and three playing in other county leagues. We are really looking forward to the challenges ahead.