JOHANNESBURG – Trisha Chetty holds the record for the most dismissals – 151, comprising 106 catches and 45 stumpings – by a wicket-keeper in women’s one-day internationals.
She is also South Africa’s second highest run-scorer with 2491 runs and one of only two SA woman cricketers (the other is Mignon du Preez) to play more than 100 ODIs. She is also trying to re-establish herself in the Proteas set-up.
Perhaps even more than the run to the semi-final of the World Cup last year, it was the axing of Chetty for South Africa’s last tour to England that has indicated how much the women’s game has grown in this country.
The playing pool is much larger than it was when Chetty made her international debut as an 18-year-old in 2007. All those caps, all those runs and dismissals and even the fact she is still this country’s best wicketkeeper counted for little with the selectors when they dropped her for the high-profile tour of England in June.
“It was very disappointing and obviously it hurt, as you always want to play for your country,” said Chetty about her axing.
“I let myself down with regards to a few things in the set-up.”
Her keeping standards had slipped, but it was her batting that has been her major shortcoming in recent years. Her style doesn’t seem to suit the new aggressive policy that has been highlighted by skipper Dané van Niekerk, coach Hilton Moreeng and the selectors.
By her own admission Chetty isn’t a big boundary hitter and the selectors, seeking more aggression at the top of the order, sacrificed the wicketkeeping benefits she provided, for the greater batting depth it gave to the team.
Lizelle Lee took the gloves in England, and while her work in front of the stumps was thrilling – an unbeaten 92 in the first ODI and then a century in the second – her keeping was messy.
“It was very uncomfortable for her, but you can’t blame her,” Chetty remarked.
“I am the No1 keeper and when I was dropped, it wasn’t easy for her. It was disappointing for me to watch that on TV. You obviously want your best keeper in that position.”
Lee’s shortcomings behind the stumps were further amplified when she was unfairly measured against Sarah Taylor, arguably, as Chetty and many others have stated, the best wicketkeeper in the world, regardless of gender.
“Sarah Taylor is the best keeper in the world, including men’s cricket. I want to be seen in that bracket as well; that’s a priority for me, to be among the top three keepers (in the world) and a top 10 batter in the world.
“I took a lot from watching on TV... the way she stands, how she collects the ball on the leg side, there was a lot to take from that.”
Chetty has called on Cricket SA to give her extra support by appointing a wicketkeeping coach. In recent weeks she’s worked with former Titans and New Zealand Test keeper Kruger van Wyk.
“He’s a great mentor, a great keeper; he’s been been working with me for the last three weeks on my mindset and my fitness,” said Chetty.
She has also scrutinised her batting, trying to find areas and methods that will allow her to fit in with the more aggressive philosophy the team is trying to build on in an age when the standard of women’s cricket has improved rapidly.
“I’m the type of player that works the ball around, I get the odd four. Aggression is not in my game, but I’ve worked on different shot selections to try and bring that (aggression) out; going over the top, sweeps, those are the extra things I’ve worked on.”
Although Chetty would prefer opening the batting, the presence of Lee and young superstar Laura Wolvaardt means she will have to adapt to the No 3 spot, something she’s found hard.
Her average in the last two years is 24.50, six runs below her career average, although her strike rate is above 70 in that period, which is also better than her career strike rate which sits in the mid-60s, indicating that she’s found the balance between scoring and being aggressive difficult.
Nevertheless, Chetty sees her recall to the squad that next month will face the West Indies in a three-match ODI series, followed by five T20 Internationals, as an opportunity for a fresh start.
She’s fitter and most importantly, desperate to prove a point.
“I’m back, and only looking at the positive stuff; I’ve been good with my fitness and my skills. I’m looking forward to the next tour, taking it one step at a time at the moment.”