Shandre Fritz was named captain of the South African national women’s cricket team in November of 2006, but a freak swimming accident shortly after that announcement has put her on the sidelines for her team’s international test series, due to start shortly in Pretoria against Pakistan.
gsport caught up with Shandre at Newlands in Cape Town, where she was the Adjudicator’ for the Man-of-the-Match award in the Proteas third test against India.
You were appointed Man-Of-The-Match Adjudicator for the final cricket test between the Proteas and the Indian team in Cape Town, tell us about that experience:
It was nice to actually sit there and focus on the game, analysing it, and deciding which of the players did the best to have an effect on the result of the game.
Graeme Smith was chosen as the Man-Of-The-Match, did you choose him?
Yes I did. First of all, he set up the first innings nicely for South Africa, he got the 94 and put South Africa in good stead. Although they didn’t get the full first score, they got close enough.
And then we bowled them out in the second innings, he was the guy who set us up once again. He gave the team a good base to work from, and from that base we won.
On the basis of that, I chose him as Man-Of-The-Match.
Had you met Graeme Smith before?
Yes, I had, but briefly.
It must have been quite nice for you to be giving him the award?
Yes, I enjoyed it (laughs), because he’s being getting so much flack from everyone, I mean, he’s obviously still a young guy, makes mistakes…, and … people must just try and get behind him I think.
Once people start getting behind him, and behind the team, instead of just criticising everything, it will go so much better.
Are you a Graeme Smith supporter?
Yes, I am!
You were also interviewed by Kass Naidoo for SABC Sport during the tea break on day 1, was that your first live television interview?
Oh, yes it was (laughs). I was a bit nervous in the beginning… I’ve spoken to Kass quite a lot, she’s amazing, she’s an awesome person, wanting to do so much for cricket and the game… She put me at ease, and it was really nice, really really nice.
Your team is going to be involved in tournaments very soon, what is the cricket team doing at the moment, and what is your involvement?
Well, at the moment, I’m just going up purely to watch on the 15th, because of my injury. Everyone gets together on the 15th, and on the 16th and 17th are the warm-up matches, and on the 20th they start with the official game against Pakistan.
I won’t be playing, I’ve got a neck injury, I dived into the swimming pool, and knocked my head on the bottom. Two of my vertebras (6 & 7) shifted out of alignment, and I’ve got a fracture at 6. So, they had to do a fusion, where they put a cage and some screws in to keep it in place.
I’ll probably go for an X-Ray in a couple of days, and then start with rehabilitation.
How soon do you expect to be back playing the game?
At the highest level, I’ll probably be going to England in June or July hopefully, but I’ll probably start training fully in the middle of February.