Cool as a cucumber and highly confident abut her abilities on the field, Cri-Zelda “Gris” Brits currently captains the South African National Women’s team. She recently led her side to a fabulous performance at the Women’s World Cup Qualifier event in Germany to help them seal a spot at the World Cup which will be held in Australia next year. Priya Ganoo gives us more on this prolific skipper…

Her first campaign as captain was against Pakistan at home in 2007 where she led the side to a 4-0 series win and her own form flourished, scoring two fifties. Brits followed this by captaining the side to a 3-0 series whitewash against to the Netherlands as well as winning the first ever Test between the two sides by 159 runs, following a brave declaration in their second innings.

Her journey with the sport began at the early age of 11 years when she began playing in boys’ teams. By the time she was 14 she was keeping wickets for the SA Under-21s against England. She then made it to the full-side in 2002.

South Africa hosted the 2005 Women’s World Cup and during this period Cri-Zelda was opening the batting and bowling, a difficult task in itself. In what was a below par tournament for the hosts she was the team’s top scorer by some distance, with an aggregate of 206. She also finished as the second-highest wicket-taker, with five scalps.

The South African knows that her home country is still quite a few paces behind her English and Australian counter-parts but she is positive about her team’s chances of catching up with them soon. She believes that allowing girls to turn semi-professional as cricketers, is the best way to spread the game further in her country.

In February 2008, South Africa, led by Brits, qualified for the World Cup in 2009 when they won the World Cup Qualifiers in Stellenbosch. Brits got her maiden ODI hundred in the tournament in South Africa’s 227-run win over Netherlands. She proved once again that she carries off the role of a skipper almost effortlessly.

Cri-Zelda swears by her parents and says that they always inspire her all the time. When asked about her fitness Cri-zelda told us that it is a very important part of her routine. To keep fit, she plays squash when she isn’t on the cricket field. Cri-zelda loves Hockey as well and says that one of her favourite ways of keeping fit is by playing hockey.

Her favourite spectator sports include rugby and athletics. Also, having played indoor cricket she feels it has aided her shot selection and quick thinking. Brits gives Twenty20 cricket the thumbs up and is of the opinion that it has improved the games of many cricketers.

When not on the field she works as a Sales Executive and says that it is hard to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle, but representing her country is inspiration enough for her to pull her weight and get her training done. Her greatest ambition is to get the World Cup home which she will try to fulfill in Australia next year, no matter how difficult the prospect might be.