Women’s cricket is rising fast in South Africa

Shabnim Ismail was disappointed after the Proteas' narrow loss to England in the semi-final after a good performance in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup. Photo: 2017©IBC/Getty Images

Following the overwhelming success of the Momentum Proteas at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in England this month, Sandton Chronicle spoke with wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty and bowler Shabnim Ismail about their experiences.

Both women live in Roodepoort and play club cricket in Randburg. They were positive about the team’s performance in the world cup, and so they should be, having won the hearts of many neutral cricket fans and journalists through gritty and skilful play.

They viewed their narrow two wicket loss to England in the semi-final as a disappointment.

Ismail, who has been playing for South Africa for 10 years said, “The global perspective of women’s cricket is changing. The game is becoming more familiar to people, and the involvement of Supersport and Momentum have made a huge difference. As a team, we carry ourselves well, play hard and work hard and have become a brand South Africans can look up to.”

Wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty said she wasn’t particularly proud of her individual performance in the tournament but was proud of what the Momentum Proteas did. Photo: 2017©IBC/Getty Images

She added that people were more interested in women’s cricket because of this year’s world cup. “I met a man who was in tears the other day at Clearwater Mall in Roodepoort. He said this year’s world cup changed his perspective on women’s cricket. Now we are getting to a stage where men and women are on the same level.”

Her highlight from the tournament was the opening match with Pakistan where she helped clinch a three-wicket victory with only an over to spare for the Proteas by hitting back-to-back fours.

“Losing in the semi-final was a hard pill to swallow and people keep reminding us about it, but we did really well, and next time, the opposition will be looking out for us,” added Ismail.

Chetty wasn’t particularly proud of her individual performance in the tournament but said she was proud of the team. “We won the hearts of the people in the tournament and played as a family… The tournament was an eye-opener for me in terms of the quality of cricket and showed me that I need to take a step further in my game. I was impressed with the way India and Australia carried themselves in the tournament.”

Chairman of the Wanderers Cricket Club, Frank Auger said after observing a greater interest in women’s cricket in South Africa after the world cup, the club has decided to establish the first women’s cricket team. “The profile of women’s cricket in this country has risen, though there is still a lot to do at grassroots level,” he said.

READ: Empowering young women

“The publicity at the world cup did great things and the team performed really well, with three South African players making the team of the world cup.”

While Ismail learnt her cricket by playing with friends such as Proteas player Vernon Philander on the streets of Cape Town, perhaps the next generation of women’s Proteas will prosper in proper club structures. If that is so, they will have the generation of 2017 to thank.

Details: If you are interested in joining the club, email Frank on frank@wandererscricket.co.za

  AUTHOR
Sarah Koning

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