Johannesburg – For as long as she has been a professional cricketer, Sune Luus has dreamt of having her family in the stands to support her at a Cricket World Cup.
The Proteas Women's player says she made a promise several years ago to her dad that one day she would buy him a plane ticket to a World Cup in which she played.
And while next year's World Cup may be on home soil, the leg-spin bowling all-rounder says she is delighted to be able to buy her dad a plane ticket to Cape Town to watch her in action at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup.
“My dad has always been someone who pushed me to get him that plane ticket to go to a World Cup, but this time I promised him a ticket to Cape Town,” Luus told the Saturday Star.
“It’s going to be awesome to have my family there, for them to be a part of it, and for all the fans to be there and just supporting us.”
Luus is part of the squad that will aim to make history next year by becoming the first South African cricket team to win a Cricket World Cup.
South Africa plays host to its first Women’s Cricket World Cup in just under three months, which is set to take place at three iconic stadiums in the country – Boland Park in Paarl, St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, and Newlands in Cape Town.
Luus says being able to have her dad there will be a dream come true.
“Luckily, this one is in Cape Town. It is not an expensive ticket as compared to travelling the world. My family will be at every single game, and they will support me.”
Luus will head into the tournament on the back of having celebrated ten years as an international player.
While not an easy journey, she says it’s been a blessed one over the past decade.
“I can’t believe it’s 10 years already. I started at a young age, so the first five years of my career just flew by. I was still in school for half of that, and you just go to school and play some cricket, and that’s kind of your career. It wasn’t professionalised back then, so the second half of my career is more professionalised and more of a career than the first half.”
“It’s a huge honour to play for my country and represent my family and everything the badge stands for. I don’t think I saw myself playing for South Africa. It’s been a blessing to be a part of this side, and hopefully, there will be another 10 to come.”
Luus has not only been part of the Proteas set-up but has also been lucky enough to captain her side as a stand-in captain.
She says captaining the Proteas at this year's World Cup remains a highlight of her career.
“A memory for me was probably this year’s World Cup, in terms of batting and the leadership role. I got to captain the side at a World Cup, which I never thought I would do in my life. The tour leading up to that against the West Indies and the World Cup was three of the best months of my career.
“Captaining is something I have done since I was a little girl. All the teams I have been in, I have been in a captain or vice-captain position at school, head girl or deputy head girl, so I have always had a leadership role in whichever team I played a part of, so it came naturally to me.
“For me, as I play under different captains in the world, I try to learn as much as I can, and something that stood out for me was to create an environment where everybody feels welcome and feels they can play their best cricket and be themselves.”
Now Luus heads into yet another World Cup confident and believes that she and her teammates can create history.
She says winning a World Cup would be a turning point for women's sports in the country.
“It won’t be for my community only, but for everyone in South Africa, women’s sport, as a whole, and women’s cricket, it will mean a lot to lift up that trophy. Women’s cricket and sport will change. Winning the trophy is what the country needs. Hopefully, we will pull through and make a change in women’s sport.”
Luus says she is also excited to play at the chosen venues for the World Cup, where she enjoyed many good memories.
“It is exciting to play at all those three venues. They bring a different vibe and scenery, and it will be great to have them packed with fans supporting us. My favourite one has to be Newlands, especially with the mountain in the background. Boland Park and Gqeberha bring a different vibe with the crowd and the bands. It is exciting and going to be awesome.”
She says she and her teammates have come a long way and are hopeful they can create history at next year’s T20 World Cup.
“We’ve come a long way as a team. We are still ranked number two in the world in terms of ODI cricket. We are trying to move up the ranks also in T20 cricket.
“We are working towards a number one ranking in the world, and we’ll work on that for the next couple of years. I am very happy with the team’s progress, and I am excited about the potential we carry.”
Luus says she and her teammates also want to inspire the younger generation in South Africa.
“Being a Proteas player comes with a lot of responsibility. Many young girls are looking at what we’re doing. We have to be at our best and carry ourselves to inspire the girls to pick up the ball and bat and make this (cricket) a professional career. I hope that with the World Cup coming to South Africa, a lot of young girls will be inspired to participate in the sport.”