Well, when introducing someone who used to be the senior national women’s cricket captain before breaking her neck in a a dreadful accident, just how do you go about it? Well, she made it much easier for us, when her determination and faith resulted in a complete recovery (aided and assisted by Sports Science Institute biokineticist Claire Cowan, coincidentally this month’s Woman in Media), so much so that she’s right back where she started, keenly making runs and taking wickets in the national cause!
Shandré’s story is a miracle, that’s no doubt, and that’s one of the reasons why we had no option but to feature her as our cricketing gStar this year, her determination to win is an inspirational story! She’s currently studying in Stellenbosch in between tours and training, but her pride and joy is in the two ODI and T20 World Cups that she’s represented her country in. She’s also got provincial colours in hockey, action cricket and U19 cricket, but she rates her quick-fire 39 against Australia at the T20 World Cup in England 2009 as the best achievement ever. Shandré’s message to South Africa? “Believe in your own ability”, and that’s one of the reasons gsport is proud to announce the November 2009 gStar: Shandré Fritz!
Do you have a nickname that your friends call you?
Shan, Fritzy …
Where were you born, and where do you live now?
I was born in Cape Town, and currently live in Bellville-South, in Cape Town.
What makes you most proud to count yourself as a South African?
Our competitiveness, and our fighting spirit.
You suffered a shocking injury a few years back, how have you withstood and overcome the pressures of such a severe setback?
Breaking ones’ neck is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a person, and it is most likely going to end your career in whatever sport code your involved in.
So I count myself as being extremely lucky to have successfully have overcome such an ordeal. In terms of how I came back from that, is purely by the grace of God.
Therefore I just saw it as my second chance at life, and just trying to be the best person that I can be in whatever I do, and not taking anything for granted.
Did you ever think you’d make a complete recovery?
To be honest that is something I never really thought about. To me I just had to recover! No matter what it took.
I also had an amazing person in Claire Cowen doing my rehab for free, and just encouraging me to become stronger and fitter than I’ve ever been, so my recovery is mostly thanx to her.
Why did you first become interested in playing sport?
I don’t remember when exactly because I’ve always been playing sport, ever since I can remember. It also helped that my family was extremely sporty.
I started playing cricket as most youngsters do, living on the Cape Flats, in the street with the rest of the other kids.
Then at junior school I played at aftercare with the boys, and one of the aftercare ladies suggested that I try out for the boys team, and ever since then I haven’t looked back.
I made the boys teams at junior and high school, after that I was sent to trials for the girls WP u/19 team, then the senior WP side, and in 2003 the national women’s team.
To what do you ascribe your success since your return to competitive cricket in recent years?
My stubbornness to not give up, and my extremely competitive nature.
Your domestic team, Western Province, is currently top of the East/West division, marginally ahead of arch-rivals Boland – What makes for a winning side?
Togetherness and each player knowing exactly what their individual roles are in the team, and of course our collective desire to be the best.
Your key talent is right-arm medium-fast bowling, with a knack of strangling batswomen trying to get you away – what are the most important things for a bowler to consider while in action?
Build pressure by bowling dot balls, and the batter will do something different, resulting in you the bowler getting their wicket.
You recorded your personal best (42) in T20’s against the West Indies recently, at the best strike rate by a South African batter – Do you enjoy having a good whack with the willow, or do you consider yourself a proper batswoman?
I do consider myself as a proper batter, I’m just more aggressive than most, I’d say, and I do enjoy hitting the ball a long way.
I wouldn’t say fanatic, but the reason that I do enjoy fitness is again attributed to my competitive nature, I do not like to be second best. I’ll always strive to be the best.
In terms of being an international athlete, it’s part and parcel. If you are not fit, you can’t concentrate as long as you should, and when that vital catch or run out opportunity or in terms of batting for a long time is required or needed, you won’t take that chance that could win the game for you team.
On the converse side, you won’t fatigue as quickly if you’re fitter, and thus can perform at optimal level consistently.
What is your present occupation?
None, trying to concentrate on cricket and completing my studies.
How do you balance your sporting career with your other obligations?
When I was studying full time it was hard and I used to play hockey and umpire hockey, so it took a lot of running around. But now it’s much better, because I’ve stopped my hockey completely.
Do you have professional sponsors?
Yes, I do, I am fully sponsored by Paul Borst who owns D&P Cricket. He supplies me with all my cricket equipment and clothing, and I’ve recent had a pair of boots sponsored to me by adidas, but I do not have a boot sponsor professionally.
What is a sport you’d most like to participate in, other than cricket?
What is the state of women’s cricket in South Africa’s? How can we further improve the sport in South Africa?
It’s improving all the time, so that’s good. In terms of improving the sport, we need to get more young girls involved by getting some more exposure and playing a lot more than we currently do, at club, provincial and national level.
What is the best career advice you’ve received?
Make it difficult for selectors to leave you out of a team.
Who would you like to acknowledge for having had faith in you, and having supported your career choices?
My family, all the coaches I’ve had over the years, and my close friends.
gsport strives to celebrate femininity. How would you define femininity, and what role does it play in your life?
Femininity to me is everything about you that makes you a woman.
What is your biggest wish for 2010?
That I firstly get selected for the national side again, and that we win the T20 World Cup, and that I am the main contributor for South Africa.
Who are your favourite sports stars?
Charl Langeveldt, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.
Who are your role models?
My mom and my gran, and my best friend.
What inspires you?
Being able to compete.
What is your greatest ambition?
To be the best women’s cricketer in the world.