Laura Wolvaardt, 21, shares seventh place in the ICC ODI batting rankings with Australian superstar Ellyse Perry. But scarily for the opposition, she knows there is still plenty of room for improvement in her game.
CAPE TOWN – Laura Wolvaardt is accustomed to doing things well. In fact, often she is the best at whatever she puts her mind to.
Regardless of whether it was her academics while at school or writing and singing music in the mould of Katie Melua, Wolvaardt was accomplished.
It is therefore expected that she would naturally want to be the best in her occupation, which is, of course, batting.
At just 21, Wolvaardt is already the highest-ranked Proteas batter on the ICC Women’s ODI ranking list – equal in seventh place with Australian superstar Ellyse Perry. But scarily for the opposition, she knows there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Her frustration at not being able to convert a couple of starts during the one-day international series against Pakistan, and now again in the Twenty20 matches, was clearly visible.
“It definitely has been a couple of frustrating weeks for me,” Wolvaardt said ahead of the third and final T20 against Pakistan on Wednesday at Kingsmead in Durban.
“I do feel that I am hitting the ball nicely when I get out there, and am really calm and focused, and then it’s almost that I am finding ways to get myself out.
“Like in the ODI series, two runouts and then getting caught down the leg side is not ideal.
“It has been frustrating, but I think I just need to stay positive because I am hitting the ball well.
“I guess I am a very competitive person and want to be the best in everything I do. I guess it’s a long process though, it’s not something that happens overnight.
“I am trying not to think about it because the more you focus on things like that, the less focused you are on your cricket.”
A further reflection of Wolvaardt’s ambition and desire to get to the very top is the fact that she has not rested on her laurels by relying solely on her natural talent.
She works tirelessly on her fitness, and is always looking for ways to increase her scoring options.
Wolvaardt’s cover drive may be one the most aesthetically pleasing shots in the global game, but the player herself knows that in order to increase her consistency and strike rate, she requires a more all-round game.
“I guess the cover drive is a shot that I’ve always enjoyed,” she said.
“I have worked over the last couple of seasons to go over the covers, because they would pack the covers and I would get stuck the whole time.
“I am always looking at ways to improve and expand my game.
“To rotate and get off strike is also what I work on constantly, and also an extra leg-side option,” she explained.
South Africa have swept aside Pakistan in all five matches played across the two formats so far, but heading into the last match of the T20 series on Wednesday, it’s ominous that Wolvaardt has not delivered her best yet.
The tourists have been warned …