When Marizanne Kapp made her international debut 10 years ago, it was tough to earn a living as a womens cricketer.
The players did not have central contracts, and matches were few. I entered international cricket in 2009, when womens cricket was nowhere on the map. It was not televised, and there was no money in it. I did some coaching to support myself financially. We only had a maximum of two tours a year. While now Im actually tired from the many games we play, back then, you just couldnt wait to go on tour, Marizanne said.
Things changed for the better when Cricket South Africa introduced a central system for women cricketers in 2013.
Im jealous of youngsters. They are fortunate to play in this era, Marizanne said, compare this to when I finished high school, and my mother told me to get a real job because cricket wouldnt take me anywhere.
The experienced all-rounder was keen on many sports as a child, but it was cricket she was most passionate about. When I was 13, my mother took me to the school principal and asked if I could join the boys outdoor team. Until then, I played only indoor cricket. Playing outdoor cricket with the boys was a big step up. Egos got involved when you played with boys, as everyone wanted to get the girl out. And they absolutely hated it when I hit them for runs. Overall, my school was very inclusive and encouraging, she said.
Marizanne, who has played 104 ODIs, 75 T20Is and one Test, has a word of advice for young girls who want to take up cricket as a career. If you do something with passion, you will make it big. Never give up on your dreams. I never did, and now Im living the dream as a professional cricketer, she said.