SA women ‘ex­pect­ing big things’ at World Cup

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS

AT 23, Chloe Tryon, pic­tured, now sees her­self as a leader. It’s a tag she wears com­fort­ably, with a smile on her face while not al­low­ing it to di­min­ish her out­put as a key mem­ber of the South African team’s bat­ting unit.

When the team’s coach Hilton Moreeng speaks about how the core of the South African team has come to­gether a long way, he’s think­ing about Tryon, who’s been cen­tral to the jour­ney the side has un­der­taken al­though she’s spent a lengthy pe­riod out of the game hav­ing been told she’d never play again.

In 2014 Tryon was told by a doc­tor to give up cricket, a game she came across through her fa­ther when she picked up a bat as a three year old.

Just 16 years old when she made her in­ter­na­tional de­but in a T20 match in the West Indies, Tryon seemed to have the magic touch. Her first deed as an in­ter­na­tional crick­eter in 2010 was to take a wicket with her first ball - that of Stafanie Taylor, then just 19 and now an es­tab­lished su­per­star of the women’s game. Tryon seemed des­tined for big things.

But in 2014 the doc­tor’s ad­vice put doubts in her mind. She had a slipped disc, and was forced to take a year off cricket. But de­spite that med­i­cal ad­vice cricket was too im­por­tant and as she puts it, “I did what I needed to do,” to get back to the high­est level.

More re­cently, in­jury though not as se­vere as the one she suf­fered in 2014 - has again in­hib­ited her prepa­ra­tions for the World Cup, start­ing this week­end in Eng­land. She suf­fered an an­kle in­jury, but it wasn’t cat­a­strophic, it just stopped her from bowl­ing.

Her bat­ting was how­ever vi­tal to South Africa’s cause at the World Cup qual­i­fier tour­na­ment in Sri Lanka where in the role as ‘fin­isher’ she was out­stand­ing. None more so than against Pak­istan, where fol­low­ing a rocky start, she came to the crease with South Africa on 129/5 and blasted 79 off 69 balls to set up a com­fort­able win.

Tryon’s spot in the mid­dle or­der is a vi­tal one for a side who’ve strug­gled for con­sis­tency with the bat. “The girls know in­di­vid­u­ally what we have to work on against ev­ery other team, we must en­joy it. Some­times, when we feel we are not good enough, we tense up, if we en­joy it, show our brand of cricket, the re­sults will take care of it­self.”

As part of the group that’s walked a long road to­gether - in­clud­ing Shab­nim Is­mail, Marizanne Kapp, Dané van Niek­erk and Mignon du Preez - Tryon’s been happy to take a lead­er­ship role within the side. “It’s been good to get the vice­cap­taincy. I’m learn­ing along the way. I just hope to bring a lot to the girls once we’re on tour,” said Tryon.

Like many of her team­mates Tryon has rev­elled in the ex­tra pub­lic­ity the team’s been get­ting in re­cent weeks as the World Cup ap­proaches. “We’ve had more tele­vised games, more peo­ple watch­ing us, we’re play­ing the best teams in the world like Aus­tralia and New Zealand and Eng­land, I guess the image of us be­ing a good team started and we’ve been grow­ing as a good team,” she ex­plained.

“The ex­po­sure was there. We’ve played re­ally good cricket. The team’s re­ally fit, we’ve pre­pared well. We’re ex­pect­ing big things of our­selves and I think a few oth­ers out­side are ex­pect­ing big things from us too.”

“It’s very over­whelm­ing, this is my sec­ond World Cup, there’s a lot more peo­ple around, we ex­pect there’ll be some loud crowds there too. That plays a huge part. We just need to take ev­ery game as it comes, not jump too far ahead and deal with all the pres­sure.”

Al­though Aus­tralia, the cur­rent World Cup hold­ers and Eng­land re­main the favourites for the event, the gap be­tween them and the rest has nar­rowed in re­cent years. New Zealand, In­dia, the West Indies and South Africa all firmly be­lieve they are ca­pa­ble of up­set­ting the ap­ple cart. Those coun­tries have in­vested ever grow­ing re­sources in the women’s game and the West Indies’ tri­umph in the Women’s World T20 last year has given the rest of the world a boost and in­di­cated that no longer is it just a case of Aus­tralia and Eng­land march­ing into the fi­nal of ICC events. “We’ve played teams like Pak­istan, I’ve seen that they are re­ally good, we won’t un­der­es­ti­mate any­one, we will play ev­ery game with our hearts and show what we have,” said Tryon. “I don’t feel we should put our­selves in any bracket. We must go there and prove our­selves. We’ve seen teams like Aus­tralia talk about us, how we’ve grown and how we’ll be a threat at the World Cup we look at that as a good thing. We go­ing there very con­fi­dent and ready to play.”

Tryon’s look­ing for­ward to hav­ing a bowl again now that she’s over her an­kle in­jury but ad­mits, when look­ing at the rest of the South African at­tack, that she may not fit in. “I’m fully fit, oiled and ready to go. The bowl­ing unit is re­ally strong, so I’m not sure where I will fit in,” she laughed. Van Niek­erk will be re­ly­ing on that ex­tra piece of va­ri­ety from Tryon to fur­ther in­crease the po­tency of an at­tack that in­cludes out­right pace from Is­mail and Kapp and leg-spin from Sune Luus, and Van Niek­erk her­self.

Like her team­mates, Tryon be­lieves this is very much her time and she’s in a big hurry to prove it.

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