16 Aug ‘TO SHINE YOUR BRIGHTEST LIGHT IS TO BE WHO YOU TRULY ARE’ – TRISHA CHETTY’S WALK TO STARDOM
Wednesday 16 August 2023
Multi-skilled and incredibly talented, it would have been easy of young Trisha Chetty to venture into a variety of sporting codes that were available to her. Yet she followed the pull of her heart, which drew her to what she desired most – playing cricket.
She silently obeyed her heart and trusted her instincts, knowing that they would not lead her astray.
Chetty’s phenomenal success can be traced back to Durban, where she was born. She started playing cricket at the tender age of seven, having enrolled in the mini-cricket programme. The thirst and will to follow her heart saw her up her game to play hard-ball cricket with boys. Still playing with boys, she continued with her sport of passion through primary, until high school, relishing every moment. Chetty’s dedication landed her at club level, before nestling on the KZN Women’s team.
Reminiscing about her journey to that point, Chetty said, “I played at KZN Women for the longest period of my career which I thoroughly enjoyed. That was pretty much the roots and foundation of where my cricket started. It was a very memorable time of my career. I was privileged to have had the support of my parents who would come out to watch every game we played at Kingsmead Stadium and Chatsworth Oval.
“During that period, I focused my energy on making myself better. It was a covenant I had made with myself.”
It is this infatuation with the game which powered Chetty to do brilliantly in the SA U19 set-up before her debut with the Proteas Women in 2007.
“Making my debut with the Proteas was an incredible milestone for me. It was a vindication of all the hard work I deposited into perfecting my game. I strongly believed, and still do, that excellence is not an act but a habit.
“I was lucky to have made my debut with brilliant players,” said Chetty.
Between 2007 and 2023, Chetty, playing as a wicketkeeper and right-handed batter for the Proteas, was to clock two Tests, and made 120 limited-overs appearances for South Africa.
Among her other conquests, she and fellow South African, Shandre Fritz, set the record for the highest ever opening stand of 170 runs in the history of women’s T20 Internationals. She also boasts the record of the highest dismissals by a wicketkeeper in women’s One-Day Internationals.
Holding the record for most dismissals in women’s cricket, as well as representing South Africa at multiple World Cups count as Chetty’s greatest achievements.
“To be honest, I didn’t really experience a lot of challenges as a female cricketer, except that we didn’t play as many international games as we would have loved to. When we first started, we would only have maybe two tours a year. Things have now definitely changed for the better for women’s cricket in South Africa. I am extremely blessed and grateful to have had opportunities to represent my country,” she said shyly.
There were memorable moments too that Chetty treasures.
“Just playing for so many years with the same bunch of girls, you form friendships that will last forever. One moment that stands out for me is beating England in the opening game of the 2020 T20 World Cup and then reaching the semi-finals in the same tournament,” proudly offered Chetty.
“Much as I had to pull out of playing in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year, to witness the team reach the final of the tournament was my greatest moment,” she added.
Beyond her retirement from cricket, which she announced on 17 March 2023, Chetty is still very much part of the cricket scene.
“I want to specialise as a wicket keeping consultant in the women’s space. Recently, I was part of the Women’s National Academy for a few weeks last month to help keepers under head coach Dinesha Devnarain. I also went to the U19 Women’s Cricket World Cup as a mentor – to the Sri Lanka team, which I really enjoyed. It was a really fulfilling experience.
“I’m currently a wicket-keeping consultant for the Imperial Lions Women’s team. My ambition is to grow, get as much experience as I can, and one day be able to work with women’s wicketkeepers at a national level.
“I also want to help grow young wicket keepers in our country as I feel their skills do not get enough attention. These young women want to do well and excel in their field. So I want to create the opportunity to guide, upskill and impart as much knowledge to them as I can,” she said.
Chetty’s learnings from her parents form the core of her interactions with others. It’s the stock that she kept glued to on her walk to stardom. She glowingly hails them for being the support structure and inspiration that kept her energy mill pumping:
“My mom has been my anchor and pillar of support. She has always been my inspiration – she was there for me throughout my career. Through the good and bad times, my mom held my hand and helped me push myself harder on the field; she instilled in me good morals and values which I tried to carry out, on and off the field.
“My parents have been the drive behind my success. They kept reminding me that ‘to shine my brightness light is to be who I truly am’.”
Her message to aspiring female cricketers is apt.
“The women’s game is becoming more and more professionalised. This means they are going to have more prospects for growth opportunities. As the sport gets bigger and bigger, we need enthusiastic young girls to commit to growing their own skills so there can be a wider pool of talent to take the shine of the game into the future.”.
Other than cricket, Chetty enjoys being at home surrounded by friends and family. A puppy lover and proud owner of a beagle, she offers this as a parting shot:
“My credo simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.”
Issued by: Cricket South Africa – Corporate Communications
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Cricket South Africa (CSA), an affiliate of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is the national governing body for the sport of cricket in South Africa and administers all aspects of South African cricket, men, and women, both in the professional and amateur sphere.