JOHANNESBURG - Ever-improving South African women's cricket opener Lizelle Lee is revelling in what she calls her best tour for her country so far, even though she admits that she is feeling mentally drained after returning from England.
The 26-year-old topped the overall averages in the three-match One-Day International Series, which the tourists lost 2-1, while she was the second-highest scorer for her side in the Twenty20 Tri-Series that also involved New Zealand.
“I think it was one of my best tours so far considering the runs I scored,” she commented. “Before the tour, I think I just went back to my basic stuff like trying to be more composed and not trying to hit from ball one.
"I was just playing it easy and taking each match and conditions as they were.”
Lee scored an aggregate of 211 runs to top the batting averages for both sides at 105 in the three 50-over games. This included one century and one 50. She was the second best among the South Africans in the four T20 matches, recording a total of 122 runs that was led by a top-score of 68.
While she shone with the bat, Lee however did struggle with her wicketkeeping, an added responsibility she had to assume after the selectors opted to maximise her all-round ability.
“It (wicketkeeping) drained me a lot mentally this tour,” she explained. “It was a bit tricky to have to do it. But I must mention that at least it did not affect my other areas of the game like batting. If anything, it seemed to benefit me.
“Going forward I think I will only learn from the experience. Will I do it again? Of course I will, this was a learning curve for me and at the end of day it’s my job and I’ll work hard to improve at it. Hopefully they do ask me again and hopefully I can do it better next time.”
Lee also paid tribute to the youngster opposite her at the top of the South African batting order – Laura Wolvaardt.
The 19-year-old has had a sensational few months, and even though she did not set the world on fire in England, she had a solid enough tour to further enhance her credentials. It seemed that just her presence has helped her partner flourish.
“I think in the last few months having Wolfie (Wolvaardt) on the other side has really helped me,” Lee continued. “She is just such a calm and collected player. She has all the shots in the book and it’s something I am striving for as well.
“She’s just calmed me down and I’ve realised now that with her opposite me, I don’t have to go at it from ball one and that’s been a big factor as well which has helped me mature into a better one-day player. I'm really glad about that.”
Lee also spoke about her responsibility changing in the team. She wants to become a run machine for South Africa, rather than be a quick gun at the top of the order.
“When people think of me, they refer to me as a big-hitting player and I think that does come off most of the time,” she adds.
“But it’s something I want to change in my ODI game. I don’t want to be known as the big hitter, I want to be someone who can bat through an innings for my side and play the situation as it is.
"It’s something I tried this series and I believe it worked well for me.”
African News Agency (ANA)