Many success stories in sports originate in backyard gardens where young children try to emulate the success of their heroes. Sometimes these unofficial ‘tests’ are the beginnings of great things to come, and Sune Luus’s exploits on cricket pitches around the world are testimony to this.
This year she received Cricket South Africa’s women’s player of the year award, while last year the Tuks cricketer was named in the ICC Women’s Team of the Year, the only South African in the team.
She was the leading ODI wicket-taker in 2016, with 37 scalps in 22 matches.
She’s also a more than capable batsman herself; in fact, she relishes challenging opposing bowlers. In May’s Quadrangular Series in Potchefstroom, opening the innings for South Africa, she scored 83 runs against Ireland and 55 runs against India.
Taking all of this into account, it will be safe it is safe to predict that she could be one of the stars of the ICC’s Women’s World Cup in England. South Africa’s first game is on Sunday against Pakistan.
Luus makes no secret what the team goal is: ‘We are aiming to qualify for the final. It would be defeatist to say that we just want to play in the semi-finals. I honestly believe we got the capabilities to go all the way.’
Luus has been playing cricket since she was four. “My dad was a mini-cricket coach – I’m still a daddy’s girl – I always played with him and my older brother as well.’
In primary school, she joined the boys. She still likes to test her cricketing skills against the opposite sex. Last year she regularly played for the Tuks third team, and just before the World Cup, she took time off to train with the players at the Titans Academy.
‘I honestly believe the best way for me to improve my cricketing skills is to train against men, as it forces you to lift your game.’
Luus was selected to play for South Africa when she was only 16, and taking her first wicket in international cricket was something she won’t forget.
‘It was an amazing feeling to take a wicket. I did not hold back on my emotions when celebrating. I guess I looked like a female version of Imram Tahir, as I’m quite an emotional player who likes to express myself on the field.’
The Tuks cricketer regards former Protea batsman Jacques Rudolph as a role model, and he’s the one who taught her the finer intricacies of leg spin bowling.
“We still have contact. When I struggle a bit and lose sight of what I have to do, I will ask Jacques for help.’
Luus’s philosophy as a bowler is that it’s never just about getting wickets. ‘I believe in getting dots and building pressure on the opposition. If you can manage to do that, the wickets just come,’ she explains.
Picture of Luus courtesy of Reg Caldecott