For somebody who wasn’t even in the mould of the classic leg spinner and was, actually a fast medium, Sune Luus is today, sans doubt, one of the prominent spinners in the women’s game.
Her name excites as many in the great game of cricket pulling one closer than ever to one of the fine strengths of the women’s game: South Africa.
Furthermore, for someone who grew up playing backyard and home-bound cricket with a bunch of males, her family members and friends, to be clear, that Sune Luus is today the captain of a spirited women’s side is in a way an inspiring story.
At the heart of every Protea fan, there burns brightly the spark of the Protea fire.
And the woman whose key task is to take that spark much higher is none other than Sune Luus, who turns 28 today.
A talent that’s as gifted as she is able, someone who is as athletic as she is determined, there couldn’t have been an abler leader than Sune Luus to guide the Protea women’s team to a stage of stability that it truly seeks.
For in the current context of the women’s team in South Africa, what the Proteas need much like series wins is an edge of stability and solidity.
These, lest it is forgotten, is a stage where a pantheon of its greats are former cricketers; no longer available for active South African duty.
Which only explains why Sune Luus’s task at hand is about as compelling as it is challenging.
Defeats in these times, and there could be some, might transpire. But victories shall be savoured more than ever in that no longer does the national team comprise a true all round genius of the game in Dane van Niekerk and nor does it have the twin batting sparks called Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez.
And just when that blow wasn’t enough to dethrone the Proteas women from a position of cricketing ascendency it had been enjoying from 2013-until-2018 and 2019, a time wherein the team played attacking cricket, even the great Shabnim Ismail called time on her glowing career.
In all this time, Shabnim Ismail kept standing at one end unfazed and undettered despite evidencing meteoric changes all around her.
But gladly, there being Marizanne Kapp and Laura Wolvaardt and not to forget, Chloe Tryon, the side’s audacious vice captain, Sune Luus is rebuilding a new era for the Proteas women overseeing a rebuilding phase that is banking on the alacrity of its youth.
Lending her quintessential calmness and grit to a side known to exhibit these very values, it can’t even be argued as to just how fortunate the women’s national side is to have the services of an experienced captain in Luus who’s ever ready to undertake a fresh challenge.
Already 3,300 white ball runs and 226 limited overs contests old in the sport, Sune Luus’s real strength lies in the fact that that she’s an exemplary spinner of the ball whilst also being more than a handy batter.
Someone who can put on a whack on the cricket ball and even change gears to bat with more applied caution.
With no fewer than 164 white ball wickets already in her kitty, Luus, perpetually hungry for success, carefully devises plans with which to entrap her candidates.
The brief and rhythmic run-up that sees her approach the popping crease with pristine focus and unwavering commitment often ends up causing heartaches and disgruntled looks on the batters’ faces.
Until most recently, it was the Bangladesh women’s team that got a taste of what Luus and her committed band of Protea women had in store as they crushed the visitors by a 2-1 margin in the one day leg of the series. The final and third game of the series culminated in a mammoth 216 run victory for the hosts South Africa wherein the captain playing a blinder: a 17-ball-34 even as top honours with the bat belonged to Tazmin Brits’s 118. Interestingly, Laura Wolvaardt, widely regarded as the player of the most gorgeous cover drive in the sport also struck a memorable hundred.
Earlier in the said series, Luus was unbeaten for a stoic 47 (Senwes Park) in the second one dayer that too resulted in a necessary win for the Proteas after the hosts had somehow floundered in the series opener held at the Buffalo Park.
However, the biggest challenge for Luus remains beating teams like Australia whether Down Under or at home, in South Africa; the Aussies being the greatest arch rivals of the Proteas, the Yin to their Yang and the Goliath that often reminds South Africa of being of the physical size of a David.
Yet, having said that, what also works in Sune Luus’s favour is the fact that she honed much of her game playing alongside biggies who have stepped away and entered their sunset. Which also perhaps explains why she can lead with a sense of avidness and composure those who are central to forming the contemporary portrait of South African cricket: the likes of Masablata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka, Tasmin Brits and Nadine de Klerk.
Luus thanks to her cricketing wits and ability to stay cool under pressure lends a surface of assuredness amid duress to a team that has often bickered away in uncertainty.
Maybe that will make what lies ahead of Sune Luus- hugely exciting and enterprising.
What do you reckon?