Katie Levick has revealed she thought the opportunity to become a professional cricketer had passed her by, but the Sheffield spinner can’t wait to get started after penning her first full-time deal with the Northern Diamonds.
Levick, the prolific leggie, is one of four newly contracted players at Headingley, taking the tally of pros to eight - the highest number of all eight regions.
She is currently working her notice period as marketing manager with the ProCoach Cricket Academy.
The 30-year-old has long been a mainstay of the Yorkshire and Diamonds bowling attack, but is confident a career which has brought her nearly 300 one-day and T20 wickets can only get better.
“I’m quite overwhelmed with all the excitement,” she said.
“It’s something I never thought would be for me and I’d be in the generation that missed out on all of these sorts of things and would watch the game develop around me.
“But I’m so thrilled the Diamonds want me to be a part of it and have given me the opportunity to go full-time. I can’t wait to get going now.
“I only found out a few days before the contracts were announced, so it’s been a very quick turnaround in terms of the actual contract. But, personally, from the summer when it was during the Hundred and halfway through the regional structure, I thought, ‘This is something I want to be involved in full-time’.
“I started to think then about what I would do if the opportunity came up to go full-time. I made the decision that if a contract came up this time around, I would go for it. When the call came through earlier this week, it was a no-brainer.”
Levick will join up with the Diamonds when they begin pre-season training in the coming days, though will initially be juggling that with her ‘old’ day job.
“I’m lucky that I work for a company who are in the wider Yorkshire Cricket family,” she continued.
“Both sides have agreed that we will make it work. So I can join up with the Diamonds full-time whilst I complete my commitments at ProCoach.
“I’m so grateful for how supportive ProCoach have been throughout my career, and they are continuing that.
“Hopefully just before Christmas I will have finished my day job. But I’ll be able to join up with the girls when they come back in two weeks. It’s just a bit more juggling. But I’m used to that.
“I’ve built a career there over the last five years, and the plan was always to stay with this company and keep moving forwards. But cricket has come along, and I have to take this opportunity.
“There is no bad blood with how this has ended. They’re a cricket company, ultimately, and they’re delighted for me because that’s what everyone in that office wants to be - a full-time pro. We’re ended on fantastic terms, and it’s not the end of our relationship. Hopefully I may be able to return there one day.”
Given Levick’s work commitments, it is testament to her skill that she has been as successful as she has in the domestic game.
“I can’t wait to dedicate time to it,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been putting in performances with next to no training.
“Dani Hazell would accommodate me for one to two hours a week if I could get there around work. That was almost just making sure I’m ready, ticking over and not working on anything new.
“Now I’ve got a whole winter and summer ahead of me. I can work on whatever I want. The world’s my oyster.
“I watched Beth Langston and Linsey Smith move themselves up the order on the back of a solid winter of training. That’s the sort of thing I want to do now.
“I’m really excited to see where my game can go.
“I’ve made it known to the coaching staff that I think I’m better than number 11 with the bat. We’re just fortunate that we’ve got a very good team. But I back myself to get up that order.”
The Diamonds have done almost everything right in their two seasons as a region, reaching all three finals without being able to deliver silverware.
“We want trophies, and that’s what we’re striving for,” she continued.
“We’ve done everything we can to get there, and the core of players has remained throughout. It’s a really exciting time for us.”
Levick has been newly contracted alongside young guns Bess Heath, Sterre Kalis and Rachel Slater.
“We have a fantastic blend of youth and experience,” added Levick.
“The Diamonds showed that we have led the way in terms of experience, and Jenny Gunn has always said in the past that it’s up to the young ones to carry the mantle and push her out. That’s no different for me.
“While I’m around, I want to be performing to the best of my ability and be in that team. But if the youngsters are pushing me out, that’s great for the region.”