Rocky Path to the Top for Girl Cricketers

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1921
school cricket

Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma, the captains of South African cricket, have their roots in the country’s legendary monastic boy’s cricket schools.

The guys have it made. Manicured pitches, top-notch facilities, and the best equipment money can buy – they’ve got it all. But when it comes to the top monastic girl’s schools, they generally don’t offer cricket as a sport. They may be sporting powerhouses, excelling in hockey, swimming, and netball. But cricket? Nah, it’s like trying to make a rock band out of a choir – there is just no beat.

However, here’s the twist: the girls are proving that you don’t need fancy schools to shine in cricket.

If you look at our national tournaments at age group levels, at least 75% of the lads who are selected would have attended one of the top cricket schools. However, it’s an entirely different story for the girls. However, nearly 70% of girls emerge from RPCs in the rurals or in townships.

For a boy attending a rural school or even a good co-ed establishment, the path to success seems as daunting as climbing Everest in flip-flops. But in an odd twist these same schools, less privileged in many ways, offer greater opportunities for our aspiring female cricketers.

However the talent pool is shallow, and to avoid the same scenario that besets the boy’s game where only a handful of schools dominate and attract the talent, more girls’ monastic schools are going to need to offer the sport.

Former Proteas captain Suné Luus played for a boys’ team at Hoërskool Menlopark in Pretoria due to the absence of girls’ cricket. It’s hard to fathom a future South African skipper facing the same fate in 20 years time. Especially not with women’s cricket rapidly becoming one of our nation’s fastest-growing sports.

The winds of change are blowing, and hopefully our girls are destined for a different, more inclusive cricketing tale.