South African all-rounder and woman’s cricketer of the year for 2013 Marizanne Kapp started playing cricket with her father and cousins in their backyard. It is not only in cricket that she excelled; she represented Eastern Province in netball, cross country, athletics, biathlon and life saving.
However, she always dreamed of playing cricket for South Africa.
“From the days of playing backyard cricket, I started taking it seriously and wanted to play with the boys in primary school. At the time, they did not really care that I was a girl as long as I could play. Sadly, there are still plenty of stereotypes around women cricketers and I hope to help change them,” she says.
But thanks to the support of sponsors and Cricket South Africa (CSA), these perceptions are changing. Kapp and nine other women have also recently been selected to attend the Cricket Academy in Pretoria with promising male cricketers.
While she is studying human resources at Unisa, Kapp wants to focus on cricket for at least the next 10 years. This veteran of 37 one-day internationals and 31 T20 internationals has also been given a contract by CSA in recognition of her performances in the sport over the past few seasons.
Averaging a shade over 30 with the bat and taking roughly one wicket every 26 runs in the limited overs game, Kapp clearly has a passion for the sport.
“For the other girls out there, I want to tell them to keep following their dreams. When I started playing cricket, there was no future for a woman in the sport, but this has changed in recent years. So you might feel that there is no hope, but through hard work things will change.” — Iwan Pienaar