Nadine de Klerk’s hero is Proteas cricket legend, Jacques Kallis, and her dream is to become one of the best cricketers in the world.
Recently, she put in a Kallis-like performance to star for the Momentum Proteas in a tightly contested ICC Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final in Australia. South Africa lost that match, but de Klerk gained great confidence after bagging 3/19.
She has just been awarded a national contract from Cricket South Africa and believes with the support of Momentum women’s cricket is prospering in SA.
gsport’s Celine Abrahams interviewed the rising star, as she gave insights into her journey to the national team and offered advice to those who are looking to play for South Africa one day.
Welcome to gsport, Nadine! Firstly, where does your love for cricket come from?
I used to play backyard cricket with my brother. During school holidays we loved to play outside and that’s all we did the whole day right throughout the school holidays and I developed a massive love for the game.
Briefly walk us through when you started playing and how you progressed since then.
My dad saw me playing with my brother and said why don’t I just go for trials and see if I like it or not. I got selected to play for the U/13 Northerns team at the age of 11 and that’s where my career started.
What does it mean to be part of the Momentum Proteas?
Nothing makes me prouder than to represent my country. It’s worth all the pain, all the good and the bad times and all the hard work. I’ll do it every day with a smile! No feeling will ever top putting on that Proteas shirt – it’s a real privilege.
How does it feel to be nationally contracted?
I’ve been working hard towards that and it was one of my goals so it’s really pleasing to get the results for all the hours of hard work.
How will this contract change your cricket life?
I think a lot. There’s a lot of pressure off me now and I feel like now I can focus 100% on cricket and I can do what I need to do to be successful and hopefully I can start to build my career from here on
At which stage in your career did you realise that it was what you wanted to do long term?
Only when I started playing for South Africa. I wanted to go into athletics but then got selected for the Proteas when I was 17 years old. Since the first day I joined them I decided that I want to play cricket for a living.
Your bowling effort against Australia in the T20 World Cup semi-final was special. How did you enjoy soaking up the pressure on such a big stage?
I enjoy playing under pressure. I always feel it brings the best out of me and I really enjoy being under the pump and the World Cup semi-final was really a special occasion to step up for my team.
How do you feel about the state of women’s cricket in South Africa and what can be done to make women’s cricket bigger?
It’s getting better. I think women’s cricket is in a good place and it can only get better from here onwards. I think the more people that support women’s cricket and the more exposure we get, the better for the game.
Cricket South Africa and Momentum have invested in women’s cricket, what is your message to them about the support they are providing you?
We would never have been able to do it without CSA and Momentum and they have such a massive role to play in the growth of women’s cricket in South Africa. I want to thank them for everything they have done for us and for always believing in us and for making sure we have everything we need to play to the best of our abilities.
What are your hopes for your international cricket career going forward?
I hope to stay in the system for a long time and I hope to become one of the best cricketers in the world.
Do you aspire to play in the international women’s leagues? If so, where would you like to play?
Yes, I would love to play in the Big Bash and IPL once that is underway.
What has your family said about your rise in international cricket?
They are proud of me and believe that I can go all the way. They back me to make a long successful journey out of cricket and their support really means a lot and it gets me through the deepest of waters.
Who is the one cricketer you look up to and why?
Jacques Kallis. If there’s one cricketer I look up to its him. He was a world-class player and there will probably never be another all-rounder like him. I love how he went about his game and just how humble he stayed throughout his career – that’s something I really look up to. I would love to become a player like him.
What is your advice to young people who aspire to play for South Africa?
The one thing I can tell youngsters is that hard work never goes unseen. There are always opportunities so when your opportunity comes just make sure you are ready and well prepared. There’s no better advice than keep working hard and you will reach the top of the mountain even if it seems impossible.
Keep believing, keep praying because there’s someone a lot bigger in charge and He knows the right time.
Photo 1 Caption: Fearless youngster, Nadine de Klerk, has been a silver lining for the national team, proving that the future of the Momentum Proteas side is in good hands. Photo: Supplied
Photo 2 Caption: Having appeared once against debutants Thailand at the recent ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, de Klerk was thrown into the mix and tasked to step up for star player, Marizanne Kapp, in the semi-final exit to Australia. Photo: Supplied
Photo 3 Caption: She emerged with three for 19, taking the wickets of in-form Beth Mooney and pinch hitter Ashleigh Gardner in successive overs, a red-letter day in her young career. Photo: Supplied
Photo 4 Caption: de Klerk advises youngsters to keep believing, keep praying because there’s someone a lot bigger in charge and He knows the right time. Photo: Supplied