After a great season in the Kia Super League, Proteas Women opening batsman Lizelle Lee believes she is one of the best batsmen in the world, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The 26-year-old started to shake off the unwanted label of ‘big-hitter’ with a string of great performances.
Her tour to England in June saw her record an unbeaten 92 in the first ODI against England followed by a 117 in the second ODI. Then in the T20Is, she managed 68 in the second match against England in the tri-series, that also involved New Zealand.
This form followed her into the Kia Super League where she helped the Surrey Stars win the championship scoring 104 in the final.
It wasn’t all rosy from the start, however, as she recorded two ducks, a 22 and three in her first five games, before turning things around with a 70 against the Lancashire Thunder. Lee credited the Surrey coaching staff for the turnaround.
‘I think in my first five games I had a rough patch,’ said Lee exclusively to SACricketmag.com. ‘But one of the coaches – Richard Bedbrook – said to me, “Listen, you a great player and one of the best in the world, just play your own game.” He told me to give myself a little more time and not try to be explosive from ball one. Once I started to do that I started to get more runs and this is something I think I should do a lot more.’
This was a great experience for the Proteas Women opener and she gave the team’s coaching staff the highest praise. She went as far as differentiating between the coaches in England and the domestic coaches in South Africa.
‘We can actually learn a few things from the coaches abroad and the way they approach players,’ she said. ‘They told me that I will have a few bad games, but that I will get out of it, so I have to give credit to them for getting me through the bad patch.
‘The difference between them and our [domestic] coaches is a culture thing I think. They do things differently to how we do. They only focus on the positives and if there is something negative they try to turn it into something positive. They just say things differently. Whereas our coaches will be open and honest and say “this is a bad game’” and dwell more on the negative stuff instead of the good stuff.
‘So these negative things can play on our mind, where we could be thinking “you know we had quite a few good moments in the game, we should focus on that and try to get ready for the next game”. But look, we have a great management in our South African team as well and I’m looking forward to going back to them for the West Indies tour.’
The conversation ended with one simple question. ‘Do you think you are one of the best batsmen in the world?’
Lee replied: ‘This may sound cocky, but I do believe I’m one of the best in the world. I don’t think my T20 ranking is a true reflection of what I’m capable of but hopefully, I can push into the top five over the next few years and hopefully, I can stay in the top three in the ODI game.’
Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images