Carter High girl mixes it with the boys, takes women’s cricket by storm

2013-11-26 00:00

ALANA Marais only started playing cricket a year ago, yet she has already been selected to play for the KZN Inland Women’s U19 team, and also turns out for the senior side.

The 16-year-old Carter High School first team cricketer is chuffed at her achievement, and said her goal now is to make a step up and get into the South African Women’s U19 team, for which trials are going to be held in December in Cape Town.

“I only started playing last year,” the Grade 11 pupil told The Witness.

“My father [Malcolm Marais] got me into it, and Mr [Ismail] Kajee [Carter’s head of sport] and Brent Kay pushed me into it,” she said.

Earlier this year, Alana played in a tournament in Johannesburg for the school’s first team and they managed to handle themselves well.

“It was nerve-wracking, but it was something I enjoyed,” Alana, who was the only girl at the tournament, said.

“It was a good experience, and I got to bowl and field against the boys. It was very interesting.”

Unfortunately for Alana, Carter doesn’t have a girl’s cricket team, and playing with boys is something she’s become used to. “If you want to play, you’ve got to play with the boys,” she said.

“They also encourage me a lot. Before I bowled my first over, I was nervous, but they got behind me and they encouraged me,” she said, praising her Carter first team team-mates.

Despite enjoying playing with and against boys, she said it would be great if women’s cricket received more recognition.

Being a medium pace bowler, Alana says the player she models her game around is the world’s best bowler, Proteas quickie Dale Steyn.

“I watch him a lot, and I’m always happy when he does well. He took three wickets against Pakistan yesterday [Sunday] and I was really happy about that.”

Not only does Alana do well on the cricket pitch, she can also mix it with the best on the indoor hockey field and has already played for the Midlands side.

“I’m also going to try and make the KZN indoor side as well,” said Alana, who was recently named as Carter’s sportswoman of the year at the school’s sports awards last month.

Of the two sports, she said cricket is her favourite as it has taken her further.

Carter head of sport Kajee said Alana was an “outstanding young woman who also does well in the classroom”.

“She deserves all the recognition that is coming her way,” he told The Witness.

He added that cricket at Carter is on the rise, and the school has three players — Alana included — due to play at the upcoming national cricket weeks.

Others are Vaughn Manual, who will represent KZN Inland U19 at the Khaya Majola week, while Joshua King was chosen to play for the KZN Inland U17 side.

“We’re the only second-tier school with so much representation,” he said.


NAME: Alana Marais

AGE: 16

HEIGHT: 1,7 m

SCHOOL: Carter High School

SPORT: Cricket

HONOURS: KZN Inland women’s U19 and senior cricket sides, Midlands Indoor Hockey, Carter First XI Cricket

AMBITION: To play for the SA U19 and senior teams

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