When you fall off the scorecard for an entire season due to injury people tend to forget who you are, but have we really forgotten about Trisha Chetty, the Proteas Women wicket-keeper and CSA KFC Mini Cricket Ambassador?
Chetty is a formidable and humbling player who has worked hard throughout her career. She started alongside her friend and mentor Dinesha Devanrain with the KZN Women’s Cricket structure and joined the Proteas Women team in 2007 where she was a lower order batter, but she has slowly worked her way up the order to become opening batter on the team. Trish, as we all affectionately know her, has played in two test matches and over 100 ODI’s in Proteas colours. She is what we would call a well-seasoned player.
On 7th February 2018 she played in her 100th ODI for Proteas Women team against India. Playing in your 100th game is always a very special moment in any cricketer’s life. She is also one of the contracted players by Cricket South Africa. Chetty has enjoyed a wonderful career with the Proteas side but was unfortunately dropped from the team prior to the team’s departure to England in May 2018.
This dynamic mousy player fought her back into the side and was named in the squad that went to the West Indies for the Women’s T20 World Cup but due to a recurring back injury, she was sent back home and was replaced by Faye Tunnicliffe. That was a tough blow for her as she also sat out for most of the 2018/2019 domestic season as well.
How does a seasoned player like Chetty return from a setback? Here is what she had to say:
You have struggled with your back injury in 2018/2019, how has that affected you mentally and challenged you to get back into the game?
TC: It was difficult for me as a player as I went from being physically and mentally fit to not being able to make it into my domestic or national squad, especially when I could not represent my country at the World T20 Cup in the West Indies in October 2018. It hurt me emotionally, but it also made me stronger and more determined to get back on my feet and into the squad again. It is not an easy process, but the support I received from my family, friends and the support staff itself is what got me through the tough time.
Faye Tunnicliffe is a young up and coming wicket-keeper that replaced you at the World Cup, did you feel at any time that your place in the national side was not going to be there when you eventually recovered?
TC: Faye is a young and talented player with a great future ahead of her. I have never been complacent with my place in the team and there is always going to be someone younger and more talented coming through the ranks, but at that stage it was all about my recovering and working myself back into the side.
You had a season long recovery process, but you were named in the SA Emerging squad that played against Bangladesh, how did you feel to be back in SA colours and on the field with your team mates again?
TC: I was very nervous and wary of my back. Once I got onto the field and had settled in after a few games, my confidence increased, and I progressed well during the tournament. I was determined to make the national squad but at the same time I knew when I could and could not push myself.
You were part of Team F VD Merwe for the Inaugural CSA Women’s T20 Super League, how big is this for women’s cricket and do you think given the chance with marketing and media coverage this tournament can grow as big as the MSL?
TC: I think it showcases women’s cricket at a very high level and it is a step in the right direction. It also gives younger players to play amongst the more experienced players which allows development, knowledge and skill sharing about the game. I do believe it has the potential to become big in the near future.
You are the CSA KFC Mini Cricket Ambassador for girl’s cricket, how much of a change have you seen in girls participating at mini cricket and going on to play cricket at a competitive level?
TC: Women’s cricket has grown in leaps and bounds over the past five years. The media coverage of the ladies’ games and women’s cricket in general has created a hype and awareness around the sport. Due to this we are seeing an increase in the number of girl’s teams participating at mini cricket level.
Having re-joined the KZN Coastal team for the 2019/2020 season, how does it feel to be back with your home team so to speak and what are you looking forward to achieving with the team?
TC: It feels great to be back where it all began. KZN Coastal is a new look team which has worked hard to be part of the top six again. I am looking forward to a season of competitive cricket with a talented group of individuals.
Previously, you played with Shandre Fritz, who is now on the CSA Match Referee’s Panel, how important is this for women’s cricket and women’s sport in SA?
TC: It really shows that women’s cricket has evolved over the years. The opportunities now are so vast and wide open, not just to players but to scorers, commentators and very recently as Shandre has shown umpires and match referees. Shandre has given a new meaning to the term woman in cricket and has become a great ambassador for this.
Last question, you finally got your call-up back into the national squad. How excited are you to be in India and what message do you have for a young female cricketer out there?
TC: Wow, it is always a great feeling to represent your country and I am glad I pulled through my recovery process and I have the opportunity the wear the green and gold kit again. I am super excited to be joining the ladies in India. It is a young team with lots of potential and I look forward to playing with them and getting back into the game. It is going to be test for me as well, so I am looking forward to it. My message to any young female cricketer out there, perseverance and determination is key achieving your goals. Stay focused and work hard.
Hard work, determination and the will to fight back is what has seen this remarkable wicket-keeper make a comeback. Chetty flew out to the join the Protea Women’s team on 1st October 2019, as she will be part of the ODI squad that will be facing India in Baroda.
Photo 1 Caption: Proteas Women wicket-keeper Trisha Chetty all smiles in training for the upcoming ODI series against India that will begin on the 9th of October in Baroda. Photo: Kass Naidoo
With editing by gsport