Otago might not have produced a lot of talents unlike other clubs, but most of them who represented New Zealand from the club really did make a name for themselves and are legends. Undoubtedly, Suzie Bates tops the list along with a few other cricketers-both men and women.
Women’s cricket, in fact, women’s sport is always a tough sport compared to men’s. At least things are better now but not when Suzie debuted. Now, imagine the physical and mental strength one must have while representing the country in both Basketball and Cricket.
It wasn’t easy. It was both mentally and physically draining, and even after representing the team in the Olympics, Suzie had to take a back step to pursue cricket after she was made the captain of the team.
Suzie was too good that she never allowed any of this to affect her game. In fact, the rookie Suzie became a star when she started to lead the team. The records speak for themselves. Leading from the front wasn’t just words for Suzie, but she took it very seriously to be there for the team in all possible ways.
People have different moods. Somedays they don’t feel good, and they might not perform, but in the case of Suzie, she hardly has a bad day. While leading the team to a great score, she would come back to pick up wickets if that is not enough, she will pull off brilliant catches in the field to keep the team in the hunt. Most importantly, she puts the team into a better mind space.
When she debuted as a teen, there were a lot of heavyweights in the team, but that did not stop her from showing what she is made of. Undoubtedly 2007 and 2009 were two of my favourite years of Suzie. After that, breaking records is the only thing she knew, and she does them all with ease.
There is nothing beautiful than watching Suzie and Sophie open the innings for New Zealand. The bromance, the compliment is too much to handle. They bring the best in each other.
The best thing about Suzie is the way she handles the pressure even when she keeps losing partners. The pressure brings the best out of her. ***
For Suzie, the crease is her dance floor. She dances all over and covers the whole. You would see her taking a leg-stump guard, walking across to the fifth stump line still manages to hit the ball on the leg side. At times, the ball pierces the gap through the off-side or straight.
The next ball, she would stand at fourth stump line and would sweep the ball right. The next ball, she goes to the middle, dances down the pitch to hit the ball over the head of the bowler. The best of all is when she stands out at the fifth stump, squats a bit and waits, sees the ball and hits it behind the keeper. You cannot call it a Dil-scoop. That is not even a shot but still is effective. I never have seen a player fall out of the crease on the off-side while playing a shot similar to Dil-scoop. No, Suzie is not all about innovation because she nails it when it comes to orthodox cover drive. She is all about mixing the innovation with the textbook shots. These shots are risky and must come with ‘Do not try this at home’ disclaimer. At times, you would wonder how she gets the bat on to the ball. Such is her class.
No wonders she is out there topping most of the list. We all have seen the attacking and aggressive nature of Suzie but on the other hand, there is a calmness she brings to the team and when she is at the crease, even when New Zealand needs 37 runs in an over, they would believe that Suzie can pull it off somehow. Such is her impact and that is how she has been for the team.
It is definitely a crime if we don’t talk about her bowling. She doesn’t take a long run but a short and doesn’t swing the ball much but you can always depend on her because she keeps it right and straight. You can depend on her even when the team needs to prevent only six runs. She successfully can, thanks to her confidence and the mindset.
You are my first love and one of the major reasons why I began following Women’s cricket with so much passion. I love you beyond words and I cannot wait to see you in person. You have been an inspiration, a down-to-earth person even after achieving so much in cricket. You always have shown how to approach a situation and come out on top no matter how difficult it is. Even when there is a loss, you never lost that glow and smile on your face and has accepted failures better. You have kept things simple and has proved that it can take you places. I know I’m blabbering here but it is super difficult for me to put in words what you mean to me. Thank you for being there for me through your sport and stories. Even though you have no idea that I exist, you are one of the main reasons for what I’m now. Thank you for everything. I love you. Happy Birthday.
Happy Birthday, Suzie Bates.
You will always be the love of my life.