A Proteas' veteran at 21: The incredible rise of Laura Wolvaardt

Proteas batter Laura Wolvaardt
Proteas batter Laura Wolvaardt
  • 21-year-old Laura Wolvaardt was named as Women's Cricketer of the Year at this past weekend's CSA Awards.
  • She has played over 70 games for her country and is considered an experienced member in the side.
  • Wolvaardt confirmed that she is officially a full-time professional cricketer and has decided to not continue her studies in medicine.

Laura Wolvaardt is only 21-years-old, yet the Proteas star is already considered a seasoned women's cricketer.

Wolvaardt made headlines this past weekend when she was named Women's Cricketer of the Year, Proteas ODI Cricketer of the Year and voted SA Women's Players' Player of the Year at the annual Cricket South Africa (CSA) Awards.

She becomes the youngest winner of South Africa's top women's award at the age of 21 years and two months - with team-mate Sune Luus being two months older when she won the award in 2017.

Despite her young age, Wolvaardt has played a whopping 50 ODIs and 25 T20s to date for the national side.

"I'm still young age-wise but I've been in the team for four seasons now. This kind of makes me seen as a senior member now I guess," she told reporters after winning her CSA award.

"It's not seen as a senior and junior thing now, we like to play as a team, there's no divide."

The last time the Proteas women played it was in an agonising loss to Australia when they fell five runs short of their target in the T20 World Cup semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Wolvaardt made an unbeaten 41 off 27 balls as South Africa were knocked out of the competition by the hosts.

"I have had many sleepless nights about that game. I think the fact that it was the last game before lockdown actually didn't help me because we came so close," said Wolvaardt, who was the only South African to make this year's Women's T20 World Cup team of the tournament.

"I have definitely replayed it in my head in terms of what I could have done better..."

Wolvaardt also revealed that she is now a full-time cricketer and has decided to put off her medical career for now.

"I turned down the medicine position so I'm a full-time cricketer but I am studying BSc in Life Sciences through Unisa. This lockdown gave me time to study properly and get fit."

CSA confirmed in a press release last week that plans for the commencement of training for the women's High Performance training squad were underway.

Despite keeping busy during the nationwide lockdown, Wolvaardt stated that she is eager to get back to playing some cricket.

"This (lockdown) has been good, it's given me some time to kind of reflect on what went well for me and what didn't go so well. Hopefully this time off will be really good for my game."

- Compiled by Lynn Butler

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